ASPCA Assists Union County Sheriff’s Office in Equine Cruelty Case

Fifty horses found in various stages of neglect, ASPCA provides medical treatment and care for horses removed from property
October 29, 2018


Lake Butler, Fla.—At the request of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) assisted with evidence collection and the removal of 50 horses suffering from various states of neglect on a 40-acre property near Lake Butler, Fla., approximately 30 miles north of Gainesville. 

On October 25, investigators discovered horses living in inadequate conditions and exhibiting signs of neglect. Remains of deceased horses were also found on the property, and others suffering from various medical issues that required immediate treatment.

“From the moment we stepped foot on the property, it was evident that immediate intervention was needed for these animals,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Our goal is to provide these animals with much-needed care and seek suitable placement options with our network of equine rescues as we continue to help local law enforcement with the case. This is truly a collaborative effort between law enforcement and animal welfare groups coming together to send a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in the community.”

The ASPCA transported the majority of the horses from the property to an equine hospital where ASPCA forensic and equine veterinarians are conducting exams and providing daily care until they can be responsibly placed with Florida-based equine rescues.

Animal cruelty charges are pending based on evidence collected by ASPCA experts in support of the investigation. Additionally, the ASPCA Legal Advocacy department is providing assistance to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

The ASPCA is focused on ensuring horses nationwide have good welfare, which includes working to help at-risk horses safely transition to new careers and homes, increase safety net support for horse owners, and enhance anti-cruelty efforts. Additionally, the ASPCA supports humane legislation and advocacy to improve equine welfare, provides targeted grants, and rescues horses impacted by disasters and in cruelty cases. For more information, please visit