Local News

Malnourished horses, dogs rescued from Warren County farm

Posted September 3, 2014 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2014 6:22 p.m. EDT

— Authorities on Wednesday removed nine horses and 16 dogs from a Warren County property, where the animals were abandoned and so malnourished that their bones are visible.

“What has happened here to these animals is an absolutely horrible crime,” said Kim Alboum, state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “I don’t have words to describe what we’re finding here. It’s tragic.”

The Humane Society of the United States, Warren County Animal Control and sheriff’s deputies removed 18 horses last week from the farm near Warrenton and return Wednesday to rescue the remaining 25 animals.

They said the farm has no clean water or adequate food. The horses have open sores and cracked hooves. Many of the dogs, which were roaming in their own feces, have eye ulcers and ear infections.

“Her eye is white like a marble,” Alboum said, examining one of the flea-infested dogs. “That’s scar tissue in the eye. She’s functionally blind.”

Veterinarians found the remains of other horses and dogs on the property.

Authorities identified the woman responsible for the animals as Mary Beth Selee, who has been previously accused of animal cruelty. They said she left for New York in July, and the animals have been neglected since then.

“She was reported in Granville County, and there are charges pending in Johnston County after months of animal cruelty complaints,” Alboum said.

Sheriff’s investigators were able to reach Selee by phone and said she refused to surrender the animals, which means a hearing will take place. It was unclear whether charges would be filed against her.

Alboum said the animals will be treated and taken to shelters, but their future is uncertain.