“How the hell could she let the mare get so bad & not ask for help or advice as to why the horse wasn’t gaining weight? Any real horse owner knows’ that teeth need to be filed down at least once a year! I get my horse done twice as it doesn’t take long for a tooth to start irritating the gum due to being sharp or hooks to cause pain, which will stop the horse eating properly. How come it took until it was on it’s last legs before someone noticed it? Was it locked away where nobody could see it? I just can’t fathom why nobody spoke up earlier, perhaps then the mare may have stood a chance! Sod falling out with neighbours; when an animals life is in danger, you speak up!! Didn’t the previous owner see it’s condition going down? So many questions because this just shouldn’t happen in this day & age!”
Floral City, Florida – “I cried her name, I said, ‘Mary, Mary — how could they do this to you?'” says a sobbing Cheryl Pence.
She’s talking about Mary, an Arabian mare she used to own. She saw Mary again Thursday afternoon, right before she died.
When animal control officers arrived at the horse‘s current home near Floral City, Mary was down on the ground, too weak to stand — simply a breathing carcass.
PHOTOS: Severely neglected horse euthanized, woman arrested **WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES**
The horse’s owner, Tammi Kampman, was arrested and faces an animal cruelty charge. A vet says the mare’s teeth were so uncared for, that she could not physically eat.
“It had no way to process the food put in front of it,” explains Animal Control Supervisor Lora Peckham. “It literally starved to death, because of a lack of medical care.”
The arrest report indicates that over the past year people in this rural neighbourhood, including other horse owners, had offered to help the family. And Pence, who had given the family Mary four years ago so their girls could ride, begged to get Mary back.
“I said, ‘but if you can’t take care of her, I can take her back. I’m happy to take her back; I love this horse,'” Pence says.
But according to Citrus County Animal Control, no one called them to report the neglected horse. Some residents told investigators they didn’t want to cause hard feelings in the neighbourhood and Pence thought someone else had picked up the phone. “In situations like this I would rather fall out with a whole bloody City; than not report a suffering animal!”
When 10 News knocked on the mobile home’s door today, we were told to go away, so we don’t know why this horse was allowed to suffer for so long. However, we did see several cars at the house and a bass boat out back.
“She took no action to get a vet on property,” said Peckham.
Yet, because there isn’t an indication of “intentional abuse”, Peckham explained that state law allows only a misdemeanor charge. Kampman bonded out of jail on Thursday. “Perhaps not intentional abuse but the owner isn’t blind, she saw the state of the horse & didn’t get a vet out….I call that intentional negligence, which should be accountable for as it is clearly animal abuse to leave a horse in that condition!”
Mary was so far gone she had to be euthanized and her former owner is now left with photographs of better days and a gnawing guilt.
“She’s in horse heaven and she’s not suffering,” says Pence. “But I will never do that again. I will never give away a horse again.”
Animal Control Officers say it’s important for people to officially report animal abuse or neglect. And if owners find themselves in a situation where they don’t have the money, time, or will to properly care for animal, officials urge owners to ask county agencies or area rescue groups for help.