LCSO seizes 21 neglected horses in Ravendale

On Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office responded to an address on Marr Road in Ravendale, California to execute a search warrant for animal cruelty.  As a result, 21 horses were seized from the property.

The seizure of the horses stems from a month’s long animal neglect investigation.  The LCSO first responded to the aforementioned property in early August 2023 for a welfare check on the horses.

The horses were emaciated and lacked proper food, water and shelter.  In addition, many of the horses had pre-existing injuries that needed medical attention.  The owner of the horses was given orders by the LCSO Animal Control Officer to provide better care for the animals.  However, the owner of the horses did not fulfill the requirements set forth, which resulted in two horses dying on the property.

Animal Control continued to respond to the property several times per week to check on the remaining horses.  The conditions of the horses were documented and photographed.  In early December, Lassen Veterinarian Services assisted the Sheriff’s Office by sending a Registered Veterinarian Technician to the property to assess the condition of each horse.  The RVT recommended that the horses be removed from the property for their health and safety.  At this point, the decision was made by the LCSO to take over responsibility for the horses.  Animal Control arranged for food and water to be delivered to the property on a weekly basis to provide for the animals until manpower and resources for removing such a large number of horses could be arranged.

The Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the Bureau of Land Management to help with the seizure of the horses.  BLM provided several horse wranglers, livestock trailers, feed and paneling to remove the horses from the property.  The horses were transported to the Lassen County Fairgrounds and evaluated by a licensed veterinarian.  The horses are continuing to be cared for by Lassen County Animal Control along with the assistance of Lassen County Animal Shelter staff.

On February 14, 2024, at the request of the owner of the animals, a post-seizure hearing was conducted.  As a result, the hearing officer ruled in favor of the seizure.  By statute, the owner of the animals have 14 days to come into compliance and meet the recommendations of the Sheriff’s Office.  Additionally, it was ruled that the animal owners are liable for all costs incurred by the Sheriff’s Office for the removal and care of the animals.  If these conditions are not achieved, the horses will be forfeited.  At which point, the horses will be rehomed.

This case is still under investigation.

The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office thanks BLM, Lassen Veterinarian Services, Modoc Veterinarian Clinic, Lassen County Fairgrounds and Lassen County Animal Shelter for their assistance with this case.  We also recognize the diligent work by the Animal Control Officer.