Authorities seized nearly 150 starving horses from a well-known Arabian breeding farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Queen Anne County humane officers had been monitoring the conditions of the horses at Canterbury Farms in Centreville for six months until their conditions deteriorated to the point where they say they had no choice but to act.
Six of the first horses removed two weeks ago were in such bad shape they had to be euthanized. Authorities returned Friday to remove another 136 horses - believed to be a record number in the state.
All were emaciated -some 300 pounds underweight - with overgrown hooves and riddled with parasites and skin disease from living outside with no shelter.
One look at Canterbury's website and you wonder how it's possible for anyone with the resources to establish themselves as the largest breeder of Polish Arabian horses in the nation and operate on a stunning 1600s former plantation - "a place where Polish Arabians feel at home" - to allow their horses to die a
slow death. There is simply no rational explanation for allowing your animals to starve to death in your back yard. But it's one thing for someone on the edge to say they can no longer feed their animals and for a financial situation to go quickly from bad to worse.
It's another entirely for someone who clearly once had wealth and, one would think, the wherewith all to seek help before things got out of hand.
The state's attorney is considering pursuing cruelty charges against the horses' owner, local officials told the Washington Post. The owner of the 200-acre estate is identified in property records as Marsha H. Parkinson, according to the Post.
The rescued horses are now being cared for through Days End Rescue in Maryland with the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States. Rescue experts say it will likely cost $1 million in the first six months to address their many medical conditions. Days End is accepting donations for their care.