At the end of June, during a civil hearing brought by Herman and Kathleen Hoffman, Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 Wayne Mack confirmed that over 200 horses seized from the Hoffmans had been cruelly treated. On July 31 the Hoffmans were back in court presided over by Judge Michael Seiler who corroborated that the horses had been abused and badly neglected. Judge Seiler refused to grant the Hoffmans a second chance and cut their rights to the herd. He awarded permanent custody of the horse herd to the Houston SPCA. In addition, he found the Hoffmans responsible for the total cost of the horses’ care since the seizure.
For all those involved in the care and rehabilitation of these horses, the fact that the Hoffmans will not have any of the animals is the best news. At least 75 percent of the horses had been scored chronically underweight. Four of the horses were so debilitated that they had to be euthanized soon after the confiscation.
The horses have been in the custody of the SPCA since the herd seizure on June 24. The veterinary care and supplies, hoof care, boarding and all associated feed and care costs for over 200 horses are staggering for the organization. The SPCA has found the accumulating expenses, based on $12,000 per day, a real struggle. To date, the expense numbers exceed $480,000.
The horses that remain with the SPCA total 207 animals. It has been five weeks since the horses were rescued, and their condition has gone from starvation to signs of improvement. The horses have survived their ordeal at the hands of the Hoffmans and even though protruding ribs and hips are still evident, their eyes are no longer dull and listless. The horses are regaining weight slowly but surely. One day some of them do very well, and other days there is still the struggle to survive. Severe neglect, starvation and cruelty has no easy fix.
Houston SPCA spokesperson Brian Latham acknowledges that getting the horses ready for adoption will take time. He said,
For a long time we were having to sedate some of the horses to give them their medical treatments or their vet care and it’s nice to see those improvements starting to happen and some trust forming between the horses and the folks who work here in the barn.
Most of the horses are registered Quarter horses. People interested in adopting one or more of the horses can find contracts and refer to additional information on the Houston SPCA website http://www.houstonspca.org/.
Meanwhile, the SPCA is making a plea to individuals everywhere to help, in any way they can, in the care and recovery of the horses. Any monetary donation would be sincerely appreciated.
Rucki has previously written a couple of articles about the Conroe horse herd. Here are the links to the stories: 200 neglected horses removed from Texas farm and Update on Texas horse herd seizure in Conroe. View additional videos from news sources linked above.