Nine horses rescued after neglect investigation, owner charged with animal cruelty

HOWELL, Mich. (WXYZ) - An investigation in Livingston County has led to the rescue of nine horses from a farm in Howell. The animals were removed after suspected neglect.

The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition along with two rescue groups, helped assist Livingston County Animal Control officers from the farm.

Velva Jean Wainscott, owner of the farm, has been charged with animal cruelty. The investigation began after a 16-year-old horse was found lying dead in a paddock.

The nine surviving horses were transferred to Starry Skies Equine Rescue in Ann Arbor and Horses' Haven in Howell for rehabilitation.

"We appreciate that the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition and their member rescues can provide us with the tools and resources we need to get animals out of harm's way and into safety," said Deb Oberle, Director of Livingston County Animal Control. "It's vitally important that law enforcement agencies develop relationships with reliable and professional horse rescue groups and sanctuaries so we can effectively handle large-scale cases like these."

"People must understand that horses are covered equally under our state's animal cruelty statute just like any other animal, and you can't neglect, abandon, or harm them any more than you can a cat or a dog," said Jodi Louth, vice president of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition. "Fortunately, Livingston County Animal Control has been persistent in pursuing this case, and Starry Skies Equine Rescue and Horses' Haven are able to provide the horses with the care they need."

The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition is urging horse owners to seek assistance should they need help caring for their animals. For eligibility guidelines and an application visit, or by call (517) 321-3683.





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