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Johnston County Horses Seized By Animal Control

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Animal control officers recently took two horses from an owner in Johnston County, claiming that the owner was neglecting the horses.

Johnston County Animal Control

seized the wild mustangs, a mother and her colt, from owner William Simpson.

"You can see the vertebrae in her back, you can count every rib. Her hip bones are quite pronounced," said Pamela Murray of the

N.C. Equine Rescue League


Murray said Sally, the mother horse, was 300 pounds underweight and her body score was dangerously low.

"Around 5 to 7 is a very good body score for horses. Sally was ranked at 1.5 and Sally's baby was ranked at a 2," she added.

Animal control told the original owner of the horses, William Simpson, to either surrender the horses immediately or face felony neglect charges.

Simpson said the tactic is unfair.

"It disturbed me that someone would come out, no notice, you know, just come out and say 'I'm taking your horse.' And then when I asked where are they going, they can't tell me where they are going or anything," said Simpson.

Simpson admits the horse he calls Peaches is thin. He claimed she lost weight giving birth and he was trying to get the horse back in shape.

"We wormed her, kept feeding her, we stepped up the feed a little bit. We were feeding her mare and foul feed at the time so we went and got some vitamins for her," said Simpson.

Simpson said he wants the horses returned, or at least wants to talk about the manner in which they were taken.

"I care a great deal about these horses and a great deal about Peaches in particular, because that was my first horse," he said.

Murray said there is nothing to discuss -- the horses are legally in her care and Simpson will not get them back.

According to Murray, the horses will be nursed back to health and then adopted by a new owner. In the meantime, N.C. Equine Rescue League officially owns the horses.


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