Abused horses rescued from Loudon County barn

www.wbir.com-Officers with Loudon County Animal Control rescued nearly two dozen malnourished horses on Wednesday afternoon.

They now are safe at "Horse Haven" in West Knox County, but the shelter said this is happening all too often.

Officials believed the animals were in grave danger while in the owner, Deborah Ervin's care. She faces charges for cruelty to animals.

The horses were found with bones exposed, underfed and living in their own filth. Officials believe some never saw outside the barn.

According to a horse condition index, all of the 20 horses are classified in poor condition.

"We are very upset to see any animal come to us in this condition but this is basically what we get on a regular basis," said Horse Haven founder, Nina Margetson.

Horse Haven is currently rehabilitating 61 rescued horses which is the most they've ever had.

"We're going to have to say no to the counties if they call us because we don't have any more room to house anymore animals," she said.

They operate as a non-profit and do not charge county animal control for their services. "They can't afford it either. But if we weren't here to help them these animals would still be living in the same deplorable conditions they were taken from," said Margetson.

With the addition of horses, they are worried about their financial future. However they said this work is worth it, knowing the animals now have a good home.

Horse Haven will hold the animals as evidence until the court date.

If they are surrendered, they will be put up for adoption.