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County may seize neglected horses

Responding to reports of animal abuse, Nevada County Animal Control may seize up to eight horses from a 45-acre ranch on the 12000 block of Spenceville Road.

Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Ron Earls said an officer issued notice of the right to a preseizure hearing to Pam Fyffe, who owns the ranch located across from the Penn Valley Collision Center.

Fyffe lives out of the area, but deputies were able to contact her. If Fyffe does not respond to the notice by the end of the work day Tuesday, all of the horses on the property will be seized, Earls said.



A neighbor called Nevada County Animal Control Friday evening just before 5 p.m. to report that one of the horses was suffering from neglect.

The call was not considered an emergency, Earls said, and Animal Control Officer Bruce Baggett responded to the call Saturday afternoon. At some point between contact, Earls said, the horse had been taken to a neighboring property on Spenceville Road.




“Apparently some people had come and taken the horse from it’s owner’s property,” he said. “At this point it was a stolen horse.”

He said a veterinarian had been called out to the property by the people who took the horse. Fyffe was also located and gave permission to put her horse down.

Sue Hoek – one of several neighbors involved in the rescue – said the horse was older and extremely skinny, with sores in its mouth.

It could not stand on its own and its temperature was 93 degrees, much lower than the normal 99-101.5 degree range.

“It made me cry,” Hoek said. “I work with horses for a living, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It was in such bad shape.”

She said no one had been at the ranch to care for the horses for nearly three months, though during that time the horses grazed on the pasture and had drinking water.

She said a woman caretaker stopped working at Fyffe’s ranch in October, and no one was seen there again until two weeks ago, when Fyffe reportedly hired a few more caretakers.

Hoek said since Animal Control got involved, the horses have received a more frequent feeding regimen.

She said several of the neighbors have noticed the horses’ deterioration for several weeks, but no one did anything until it was too late.

“We should have done something sooner,” she said. “It’s a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes you have to mind other people’s business.”

To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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