Reporting Mike Dello Stritto
EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) -– A Northern California animal rescue group may need some rescuing of its own after helping save dozens of horses in what some are describing as the worst cases of animal cruelty they’ve witnessed.
Volunteers from The Grace Foundation in El Dorado Hills were not prepared for the conditions it found on a Northern California ranch in April, where the carcasses of 25 horses littered the property, many just the skeletal remains.
“It was just a graveyard for horses,” said Beth DeCaprio of The Grace Foundation. “It was the worst case I had ever seen.”
Graphic video shows the horrific conditions at the Whispering Pines Ranch in Lassen County. Some of the surviving horses were forced to feed off the dead.
On Wednesday, Dwight Bennett, the owner of Whispering Pines Ranch, was arrested and charged with 30 counts of animal cruelty.
“There’s a price to pay when we forget about the innocent and the voiceless,” said DeCaprio.
DeCaprio helped rescue 56 horses over several months, all of them now at The Grace Foundation Ranch in El Dorado Hills. Nursing the ailing equine back to health is a slow and tedious process. And there are about to be more “unexpected” survivors.
“You know, it’s a tragic situation. And these are all young horses under 3 who are all pregnant,” explained DeCaprio.
At least 18 mares are pregnant. And finding homes for the horses is not easy. There aren’t enough people with the means and interest in giving the horses a good home.
And now, tight on cash, The Grace Foundation is in need of some saving of its own to continue its mission to save these horses.
“We’re just desperately asking the community to step up and help us in any way they can,” DeCaprio said.
One of the horses rescued from the ranch is now a police horse for the Folsom Police Department.