NEW MADRID - A Southeast Missouri man is charged with animal abuse after horses were found without water and inadequate food.
Anthony Cameron will be arraigned Oct. 13 in Division II of New Madrid County Circuit Court on nine counts of animal abuse. Eleven horses in his possession were taken into custody by officers, according to the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department.
The investigation into the abuse case according to the Southeast Missouri Animal Protection Agency began Sept. 6 when the Caruthersville Humane Society received a report of 11 horses in bad shape in Pemiscot County. The Caruthersville Humane Society followed up on the report with an inspection then contacted the owner, who agreed to take care of the situation.
Reportedly the owner failed to solve the problem and on Sept. 9, the Southeast Missouri Animal Protection Agency was called about the extremely poor condition of the horses. The SEMOAPA's preliminary investigator inspected the site and determined the horses had no water and inadequate food supply.
The preliminary investigator stated the horses were in danger and requested further investigation by Chief Investigator Shannon Wallace. Wallace inspected the horses on Sept. 10 and again Sept. 11. He also found the horses had no water and inadequate food supply. Most of the adult horses were dangerously underweight, Wallace reported.
Apparently sometime after Wallace was on the scene Sept. 11, the horses were moved to a location in New Madrid County.
On Sept. 12, Wallace working with Caruthersville Humane Society and Pemiscot County Sheriff's Department, located the horses in New Madrid County. After contacting the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department a court order was sought to remove the horses.
After obtaining a search and seizure warrant Sept. 14, the horses were taken into custody by the Southeast Missouri Animal Protection Agency. The horses were placed on a refeeding program and since then their conditions have improved drastically, the group reported. Also the horses received a vet evaluation and medical care.
The horses will remain in the custody of SEMOAPA until a disposition hearing in October at which time the owner will have the opportunity to defend himself. At that time the judge will make the decision as to if the owner will regain custody of the horses or if they will remain with SEMOAPA to be placed for adoption.
Southeast Missouri Animal Protection Agency is a non-profit organization, which was formed in March of 2005 for the express purpose of investigating animal neglect and abuse. Prior to the forming of this organization there was no organization to deal with larger animals in Southeast Missouri. It is out goal to establish a large animal care shelter in this area. The Goal of the Agency is not to take animals from their owners, but to educate animal owners on how to care for their animals. We understand that most neglect cases are not intentional but are due to the lack of knowledge in caring for the animals. Our concern is the health and welfare of the animals. If an owner feels that he or she is not capable of providing adequate care for an animal they can turn them over to the SEMOAPA, which will provide for the care of the animal and adopt it to an appropriate home. If an owner refuses to cooperate with investigators on providing adequate care for their animals SEMOAPA will pursue legal means of having the situation corrected.
The State of Missouri has very specific laws dealing with animal rights. These laws provide for criminal charges to be filed against negligent and abusive animals owners, they also provide for the animals to be taken from the owner and placed in caring homes.