Columbiana County man facing charges for neglecting horses

St. Clair Township took his two horses Saturday morning; They are now in the care of an Angels for Animals co-owner

ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WYTV) – A Columbiana County man is facing animal cruelty charges after police say he wasn’t taking care of his horses. They stem from St. Clair Township getting numerous phone calls about skinny horses, which are now being taken care of by Angels for Animals.

Rancy Martinez of East Liverpool is the man facing charges. St. Clair Township took his two horses, Gulliver and Candy, Saturday morning.

Max Nolder of the St. Clair Township Police Department said the conditions the horses were living in were not safe.

“By the body condition, I would say it has had to be over the course of eight or 10 months,” he said. “They were basically standing in mud. There was no pasture, no grass. Very small, packed area.”

Columbiana Horse barnMartinez emailed a written statement to WKBN on Sunday.

He said he began to notice the horse was losing weight and having difficulty eating, which is when he made multiple calls to a veterinarian to see what was wrong.

The vet told him the horse, Gulliver, had a loose tooth — Martinez said that was why he wasn’t eating properly. Martinez then said he fixed his barn and bought an industrial heater for the horses.

Still, authorities soon came to take both horses to Angels for Animals.

“I did everything possible to provide what I needed to for my horse that I’ve had for 15 years … the last thing I would do is starve my horse or harm him in any way,” Martinez wrote.

Gulliver — whose ribs can be seen popping through his fur — is now under the care of Diane Less, the co-founder of Angels for Animals.

“You just can’t even imagine how someone could sit down at the dinner table while that animal is out in the pasture with nothing to eat,” Less said.

“He wants to eat constantly,” Less added. “But we have to be very, very careful that he doesn’t eat too fast, because that can also upset his physical balance.”

horse-picLess is caring for the horses on her own dollar.

“Last night alone, I went to the feed store and spent $91 just for this horse and his supplies,” she said. “He’ll go through those in a few days.”

Less believes it will probably take about three months to get Gulliver healthy again.