An emaciated horse whose hooves were so overgrown that it couldn't walk had to be put down by law enforcement officials. The August 28, incident was brought to light when law enforcement was notified that a man had a neglected animal on his property. Melton Shaw, Jr. of Kingstree was subsequently arrested. He would later plead guilty in Williamsburg County Magistrate's Court to the charges and was fined $1,030 and restitution in the form of a $340 contribution to the Florence County Humane Society for expenses or risk going to jail for 60 days.
Considering the shape the horse was in (overgrown hooves, severe emaciation), neglect had been present for some time. Neglect is defined as failure to provide sustenance and care sufficient to maintain an equine's good health. This includes food, water, shelter, veterinary and farrier care. Whereas, abuse is actions designed to hurt or cause physical damage to the animal.
The economic downturn has been catastrophic to horses and the owners who can't or won't properly care for them. A 2005 study by the American Horse Council shows approximately 34 percent of horse owners have a household income of less than $50,000. The minimum yearly cost to care for a horse that includes veterinary and farrier costs, as well as boarding expenses in some cases, can reach $5,000. Often times, an owner can't afford to take of the animal but doesn't know what to do. There are options such as selling or leasing the horse, donating it to a worthy organization or in extreme cases have it humanely euthanized by a veterinarian. And there are organizations that are centered on horse rescue such as LEARN (Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network), a non-profit located in Ravenel.
Where there are few solutions, there are ways to help; however, it is up to the owner to do what's right. Any suspected equine abuse should be reported to the authorities. You can report animal abuse to the Williamsburg County Animal Shelter at (843) 355-9312 or contact South Carolina Humane Society Cruelty Investigator Eddie O'Cain at (803) 783-1267 x11 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers can report animal abuse anonymously by calling the Animal Cruelty Hotline at (843) 647-9610.