By Wyatt Goolsby
ODESSA - Police in Odessa are asking you keep your eyes open just in case you see any suspicious activity. In the last few months, Animal Control Officials are reporting more than a dozen horses have been abused or neglected.
In Ector County, the total number of horse cruelty cases since May stands at 22. Those include neglected and abused horses and donkeys. Many of them were just left with no food or water. Officers said even if you can't afford to keep them, there are always other options.
"You can see the ribs, the spine in the back, some of them had been standing in feces in the water just from neglect, but the majority of it was people just not being able to feed them and water them anymore," Officer Clyde McGee, with Odessa Animal Control, explained Wednesday while describing some horses' conditions.
After looking at the pictures, and hearing the numbers, it's clearly a bad situation. Odessa Animal Control officers said in the last six months, they've seized six horses and euthanized two because of poor health. One donkey was found abused and abandoned.
"As the economy has gotten bad, we've seen a lot of people that had to move their finances around, and unfortunately the animals and the horses in this case, as much care as they require, have gotten the short end of the deal," McGee said.
Officer McGee also said all of the cases are pleasure horses, and seem to be happening all over the city and county. Their message: You never need to leave your animals starving.
"Think about the animals first," Officer McGee added. "If you can't afford them, everybody understands that. Let's find a good home for them. If you can't sustain them and feed and water them, let us know, we will be glad to help you in any way that we can."
Police also said Odessans are generally good about letting them know if they see any abused animals. Animal cruelty charges can carry up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine.