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Foundering horse’s owner could face misdemeanor charge

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foundering
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Foundering is a painful condition in which a bone separates from the inside of the hoof and can push through the sole of the foot, according to www.bare-foot-horses.com, which advises on hoof-trimming.

This can happen when hooves grow too long, changing the angle at which the horse’s legs meet the ground. A horse may lay down to relieve the pressure, but that body position can cause the animal to develop respiratory infections and other complications, according to a supplemental report filed with police.

To maintain hoof health, the equine standard is to trim hooves every six to eight weeks, according to the Indiana Horse Council’s website. Foundering is a treatable condition that requires more frequent trimming.

Updated: September 24, 2013 6:28AM



A rural Valparaiso man who ignored his horse’s pain will likely face a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, according to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police.

The 35-year-old man reportedly told animal control and police on Tuesday that the horse was a “lawn ornament,” and he would rather have it killed than have its hooves trimmed.

Porter County Animal Control took the animal instead. It is undergoing treatment.

The owner’s plan to euthanize the animal is not illegal; the potential charge stems from the man allegedly allowing the horse to remain in pain, untreated since Aug. 7 and likely longer.

According to a police report, the draft horse is foundering.

An anonymous person contacted the Porter County Animal Shelter on Aug. 7, asking for an investigation into a horse in a pasture in the 300 block of east County Road 100S. The person reported the hooves were overly long and the animal’s “hocks (portion of the legs) already appear swollen.”

Animal control officer Patrick Cassin responded to the property on Aug. 8. There was no house and it was unclear who owned it, but since the complainant was credible, Cassin climbed the gate and found the horse behind the barn. It was clear no one had adequately cared for its hooves; they were several inches longer than called for by standard practice and ran parallel to the ground, and one was split and “hanging on like a gate hinge,” Cassin’s report said.

The next day, the owner called animal control in response to a note the officer left. He claimed the horse foundered before he got it 10 years ago and that there is nothing to be done for it. He also reportedly said that since he has had it, the animal has never been seen by a veterinarian, but that a relative does the hoof care for him.

A week later, the owner reported his veterinarian had told him the horse was “fine.” When Cassin called the veterinarian to confirm, however, she said she had not physically seen the animal recently but that she is familiar with the owner and he took “good care” of the horse.

Not reassured by this, Cassin brought the state veterinarian to check on the animal on Tuesday. That veterinarian determined the horse still had not received proper care and explained what health care the law required, according to the incident report.

This was when the owner allegedly described the horse as a lawn ornament and said getting a professional to come out was too much trouble.



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