EAST FALMOUTH (CBS) – Allegations of animal cruelty are being investigated on Cape Cod after pictures circulated on social media of horses that appeared to be emaciated.
“I don’t know – other than pictures – if I had ever seen horses in that deplorable condition,” Bill Ritchie explained.
Ritchie, the manager of Sterling Pointe Farm in Rochester, was talking about two horses that he says came from Smithfield Farm in East Falmouth.
He said horses Knox and Bravo first arrived in August of 2018.
“I felt sorry for them,” Alex Goldman said.
Goldman, the owner of Sterling Pointe Farm, said he visited Smithfield Farm to help a client pick up a horse.
“I came in to pick up a horse, and I saw dirty aisle ways. Horses in stalls that didn’t have the proper bedding in them – that had a lot of feces in them – and the barn had tarps covering the roof of it from leaks,” he recalled.
Monica Morelli said she took several photos of the barn and told WBZ she had two horses at Smithfield. They’ve since been removed.
On Saturday, another woman, Renee Desrosiers, told us she took pictures showing the condition of miniature horses there.
The MSPCA sent WBZ the following statement.
“The MSPCA Law Enforcement Department has confirmed it opened an animal cruelty investigation into the owners of the Smithfield Farm. It has acted on several tips from the public that have been phoned in and has visited with the farm multiple times.”
After calling the owner multiple times, we went to go find her.
We were met by a volunteer instead and asked if she had ever seen an emaciated horse there.
“Never. No. Never. And I’ve been here now four months,” Marty Hopkins said.
Bill Ritchie said Knox and Bravo were severely underweight when they arrived at Sterling.
“Maybe 300 pounds or more,” he said.
He said it took six months or more to get both horses healthy again.
“Nothing had been done to them at all, and these are big horses and large horses, and they were just bones,” he said.
From across the street, we saw one horse with ribs showing at Smithfield Farm.
The volunteer said the only skinny horses are the ones who arrive that way and insisted all of them are healthy
“I’d ride any one. I have no fear riding any one of them, and I’m 71,” Hopkins said.
She also explained that she feeds the horses, gives them water and puts them to bed.
Bill Ritchie said at this point he wants something done. “I want to see some sort of action.”