(HUNTINGTON CO.) - The Indiana Board of Animal Health is still investigating four dead and 10 malnourished Clydesdale horses at a rural Huntington County farm.
Their owner thinks the deaths were unfortunately a result of the rough winter, not neglect.
Huntington County Animal Control said an anonymous tip led officials to 10 Clydesdale horses roaming in a rural field (near Majenica) during Tuesday's snow storm. Officer Lori Vanover said they found three dead horses and had to humanely euthanize a fourth.
Shannon Cobbs and his family own the horses along with their company Grandview Clydesdales. He said their horses are known across the country.
Officials say Cobbs reported several horses missing in January. He was in Florida on Tuesday when Animal Control contacted him about the dead Clydesdales. Cobbs said he immediately traveled back to Huntington County.
A hired hand is said to have been looking after the horses. When asked why they were left in the cold, Cobbs said they were in a pasture field that had been used for 50 years without any such incident.
"They had wind breaks and a woods and everything else. But a lot of times horses in general-you could have the most beautiful barn or shelter. A lot of times they will stay out in the elements."
Despite what Animal Control reported, Cobbs said only three horses died. They were all around a year old.
"It's a combination of the worst winter any of us can remember in how long and a combination of just a couple young ones that didn't have the stamina or fortitude to see it through," Cobbs said.
The owner also thinks calling the 10 surviving horses malnourished is "one person's opinion."
Cobbs voluntarily showed NewsChannel 15 one of the Clydesdales he said was pinned as malnourished. Animal Control said the owners have been very cooperative with their investigation.
The family is in the process of moving out to Florida. Cobbs said the surviving Clydesdales are either in a large indoor barn or being transported to Florida.
"Hindsight, if Mother Nature wouldn't have been so hard on us, none of this would have become an issue and it never has been in the past," Cobbs said. "My biggest regret is that our property in Florida is so nice and so warm and our horses down there are enjoying it so much...my biggest regret is that those three aren't going to get to experience that."
The investigation into the farm remains ongoing. Animal Control is currently trying to determine if the deaths are a result of neglect or an accident.
Grandview Clydesdales currently has about 60 horses.
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