A complaint about a goat carcass prompted an investigation that ended with eight animals being seized from an Auburn Road property.
While the investigation is ongoing, animal neglect charges are expected to be filed in the case.
On Sunday, a Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control officer responded to a report of a goat carcass beginning to stink at a private residence on the 13000 block of Auburn Road, said Sgt. Sam Brown.
The officer was unable to access the property because it was fenced and posted a notice, Brown said.
Later the same day, the property owner was contacted and agreed to call a company that specializes in the removal of dead animals.
When the person from the removal company arrived at the property, Brown said, the owner also requested the removal of a dead horse.
The person who removed the animals reportedly was concerned and called the Sheriff’s Office to ask them to do a welfare check on a “very emaciated horse” still on the property.
“A few of the animals were not doing well, and (the horse) was a major concern,” Brown said.
A local veterinarian was called out who was familiar with the property and the animals, as was the Large Animal Rescue Team made up largely of Nevada County Consolidated firefighters.
“The horse could not get back on its feet and was euthanized,” Brown said.
Animal Control officers and sheriff’s deputies, along with volunteers, including Ezra Marrow of Ezra Marrow Training, Paula Jobes of Precious Cargo, Bonnie Easley and Michelle DeCamp, returned to the property Wednesday and removed eight animals, Brown said — two mules, three burros, a goat and two mustangs that originally had been adopted out by BLM.
“The Sheriff’s Office is appreciative of the assistance and expertise provided by (the) volunteers,” Brown said.
The eight animals seized were taken to Sammie’s Friends animal shelter. Shelter director Cheryl Wicks said one of the mustangs and one of the mules appeared “very, very skinny.”
The animals that were still living have been evaluated, and necropsies were performed on the dead goat and the dead horses.
According to Wicks, she was told one of the dead horses had only rocks in its stomach, an indication that it was starving.
Both dead horses reportedly only weighed about 500 pounds; a mustang should weigh about 700 to 800 pounds.
The case “leaves us speechless,” Wicks said. “Who does these things? Taking care of something and feeding it are such basic things to do.”
Brown said Animal Control had been called out to the property about a year ago.
“The vet got involved, and they were given clear guidelines to get the animals back in good health,” he said.
“We did do follow up” on several occasions.
This case will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, Brown said, adding that more than one individual could be charged.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.