Help came too late for a Shetland pony in Texas found hopelessly tangled in a rope used to tether him to a tree.
He was euthanized because of his many injuries, which included a dislocated hip, suspected internal injuries and multiple rope burns.
Parker County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ivan Garcia, 34, of Weatherford, on Wednesday and charged him with cruelty to livestock.
Sheriff Larry Fowler’s animal control officers were called to the 4000 block of Marlboro Country, in Western Lakes Estates, on Monday.
A concerned citizen reported the pony was found lying on its back, with its feet in the air and severely tangled in a 20-foot rope. Witnesses reported the horse had been dangling inverted from a tree which the rope was tied to.
The caller sought the help of a nearby resident while animal control officers were travelling to the scene.
The witnesses were able to untangle the horse, which was unable to stand or walk once free. Witnesses reported they gave the horse water and it drank a large amount within minutes.
The sheriff’s animal control supervisor, Karen Kessler, said the horse was in an obvious state of stress and shock, had suffered a hind leg injury, and was dehydrated with heavy labored breathing from an obvious prolonged struggle.
Kessler said it was apparent the horse had suffered greatly, with rope burns over its body. Kessler added the horse was unable to see due to dirt in his eyes.
“The horse dug a three-foot-wide hole in the ground by struggling in attempts to free himself,” Kessler said.
“He was overheated and his condition was extremely poor.”
Animal control officers reported the horse had been in a distressed state for the better part of the day, covered in sweat and dirt, with its coat matted. There was no food or water available for the animal and no grass nearby for grazing.
“We discovered an empty bucket estimated about 30-feet away from the horse,” Kessler said.
A local veterinarian was called to the scene to evaluate the horse.
The veterinarian determined the horse was about 7 years old and needed to be euthanized due to his severe condition – numerous rope burns, a dislocated left hip, suspected internal injuries, trauma, head lacerations and dehydration.
Witness reported the horse had been tied to the tree since at least Saturday, March 22. When they observed the horse was tangled and in distress on Monday, they immediately contacted the sheriff’s office.
“The photos speak for themselves,” Sheriff Fowler said. “This horse suffered needlessly at the hands of a suspect who had a blatant lack of respect for a living creature.
“The suspect did not provide even the basic needs of an adequate pen, water and food.
“This horse was deliberately placed in a dangerous position and it cost him his life.”
Garcia was not at the scene, but reported to deputies the animal was missing or stolen later on Monday.
The owner initially told deputies he did not live at the residence where the horse was discovered, but later called back and admitted he was the occupant of the home, and that the horse was not stolen or missing, saying he lied to deputies because he was “scared”.
Garcia arrived at the sheriff’s office on Friday for an interview with investigators. He was arrested and charged with cruelty to livestock.
Garcia was also booked in on three outstanding warrants out of Hudson Oaks for failure to maintain financial responsibility, failure to appear and no driver’s license.
Two unrelated animal calls were reported Wednesday. The first involved a brindle Belgian Malenois female dog aged about four, who had been apparently dumped near Farmer Road and Old Weatherford Road.
Sheriff’s animal control officers reported the dog was inside a kennel when they found her. She was taken to the Weatherford-Parker County Animal Shelter.
“There is no micro-chip or collar or anything to help us identify this dog,” Kessler said. “She will be held for 72-hours, pending a medical clearance from the shelter veterinarian. She will then be placed up for adoption.”
The second animal call came from a passerby who reported two large black male dogs chained together by their collars connected to a heavy-duty link chain.
Kessler said the dogs were spotted running down the center of West Highway 199 in Springtown.
“The older dog is estimated to be about 2 to 3-years-of-age, which was chained to a younger dog about a year old,” Kessler said. “They were intentionally bound together in a cruel fashion and allowed to run free in a high-traffic area.”
Kessler said she was glad the sheriff’s animal control officers were able to respond before something happened to them. The dogs both appear to be a Newfoundland/Labrador mix breed.
The pair will also receive a medical evaluation before being placed for adoption.
Sheriff’s investigators are seeking the owners of the dogs. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s Office at (817) 594-8845.