Remains Discovered at Winchester Property
MONDAY, DEC. 17, 2018 – Riverside County Animal Services served a search warrant at a property in Winchester today where the remains of three horses were discovered.
The property on Van Gaale Lane, just east of Winchester Road, is one familiar with Animal Services officers. The owner of the horses was not complying with recommendations by officers for proper care and nutrition for the horses. The owner failed to work with the department and so a search warrant was obtained.
Animal Services Lt. John Stephens and Sgt. Lesley Huennekens served the search warrant this morning. The officers discovered the remains of three horses. The horses will be transported to a state lab and necropsies will be performed to determine a cause of death.
Sgt. Huennekens described the bodies of the horses as emaciated. Two of the three were a specialized breed called Pony of the Americas. One of the ponies was a mare and the other a gelding. The third horse, a gelding, was an unknown breed.
The officers also checked the property for any livestock feed. Sgt. Huennekens said there wasn’t any proper feed for horses at the property.
It’s been an ongoing struggle for Animal Services in trying to work with the owner of the horses, a woman. The department’s officers offered many times to assist the woman by transferring the horses to a reputable equine rescue organization. Each offer was declined.
“It’s been more than two years of this,” Sgt. Huennekens said. “And there were always different horses each time we attempted to visit.”
The recent discussions with the woman, who refused entry to the officers for proper inspection, led to the search warrant.
“The conditions of the horses and the barn where they were being kept were deplorable,” Sgt. Huennekens said.
The case remains an open investigation.