ARL Assists with Animal Neglect Case of Nearly 60 Ponies

posted on Friday, May 18, 2018 in News


Friday, May 18, 2018 (EARLHAM, IA): Last night the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) assisted the Earlham Police Department with a large-scale animal neglect case in Earlham, IA (located in Madison County, approximately 30 miles from Des Moines). Nearly 60 Welsh ponies were on the property without any access to food or water. Two deceased ponies were also found. Of the living ponies, many had ribs that were visibly showing, hooves that had overgrown and curled up to the point of cutting their legs, hair loss, and other ailments. The youngest on the property was of nursing age and the oldest was about 31 years old.

ARL Earlham PoniesMany of the ponies were locked in stalls with 3-4 feet of mud and feces. About half were in a “dry lot” next to the barn, and the rest were in a pasture full of weeds and a small puddle from the rain serving as the only access to water. The feed boxes were all empty except for one that was full of twine – which could be lethal if the ponies ingested it. While we were there, some of the ponies were so hungry they were eating the hair that had fallen from the other ponies.

The ARL Mobile Rescue Team was assisting officials on site for more than 7 hours, and 9 of the ponies with the most urgent conditions were removed from the property as part of the search warrant. The ponies are now being cared for at the ARL’s Second Chance Ranch, where they now have clean stalls and plenty of water and have begun a refeeding program under the supervision of equine veterinarians. Treatment has also begun for extreme hoof and dental conditions.

So far, 3 citations of livestock neglect and 2 citations of failure to dispose of animal remains have been issued to the owner, and the investigation and outcome determination for the remaining ponies is ongoing. The ARL is continuing to assist officials in this case and with the care of the ponies that have already been removed.

The ARL’s Cruelty Intervention program assists law enforcement across the state of Iowa to help rescue animals from abuse, collect evidence for eventual prosecution, and train officers on how to handle animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect cases to the full extent of the law. It is the only program of its kind in the state, and last year the program helped animals in need across 65 Iowa counties and 8 other states.

“Seeing ponies in these conditions is heartbreaking, and they clearly did not get this way overnight. There is absolutely no excuse for what these ponies have gone through. While we are happy the 9 ponies at our Second Chance Ranch will now be getting the help they need, we are still are very concerned for the approximately 50 ponies that still remain on the property and hope that all of the ponies will soon have the outcome they need and deserve,” said Tom Colvin, Chief Executive Officer for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

The ARL is seeking donations of high-quality grass-alfalfa mix hay or high-quality grass hay, Purina Strategy horse feed, alfalfa pellets, and pine shaving bedding in addition to monetary donations for medical, hoof, and dental care. Donations can be made at (RE: Ponies) or delivered to the ARL’s Main location at 5452 NE 22nd Street in Des Moines between 11am and 6pm on weekends and 11am and 8pm on weekdays.