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SALEM, Ind. (WDRB) -- Six horses with protruding rib cages, six goats with matted fur and one donkey were all taken from a Salem, Indiana property Saturday morning in what officials called a rescue mission.
"The goats were in three feet of muck and feces and urine and had been nailed into a stall for a year. You don't keep animals that way," said Jo-Claire Corcoran, an officer with Heartland Equine Rescue.
Corcoran said for a year now, officials have been suspicious the owner was neglecting the animals but they didn't have strong enough evidence to take action.
"He kept saying he was feeding them and clearly evident that he was not feeding them but finally, they felt they had enough evidence of a history of failing to comply and failing to do what needed to be done," said Corcoran.
Officials haven't released the owner's name because of the pending charges.
"Unfortunately there's people out there who just don't care," Corcoran told WDRB.
Corcoran said better laws are needed to keep animals from neglect.
"We need some stronger laws in all states but in Indiana we need it where it says that if you're starving a horse then that's it, or any animal," she said.
"A couple are okay, a couple are in really bad shape and the others any longer they'd be in worse shape. One may not have made it much longer he was in such bad shape," explained Corcoran.
The condition of the animals varied, but Corcoran said the animals are getting immediate care from a veterinarian and it could take up to eight months to get some of them back to good health.
"You can tell they probably got worms because of the way some of their coats are with the extra hair. That comes form malnutrition and worms not being properly medicated," said Corcoran.
Official charges are expected to be filed Monday.
Heartland Equine Rescue is asking for donations to help get the animals back to good health.
Call the Washington County Sheriff's Department to find out how to donate. The number is: (812) 883-5999.