A California horse auction owner faces felony animal cruelty charges after more than two dozen horses were found near-death or dead on his ranch. A warrant for the arrest of the Yuba County rancher Joe Cardenas was issued late last week. According to the local newspaper, the Appeal-Democrat, Cardenas said someone dropped off the ill horses at his ranch in very poor condition in August.
The probable cause court filing states that animal control officers were at Joe Cardenas’ ranch on May 13 and found at least two horses that were so underweight that the spine, ribs, and hips were clearly visible. The rancher said he took the horses in from a ranch in nearby Sutter County in March. The animal control officers maintain that photos of the horses before they left their former home and the condition in which they were found on the Cardenas’ ranch show a deep decline in health.
The Yuba County District Attorney’s officer reportedly received dozens of phone calls and emails from concerned residents and horse lovers from outside of the region after a local horse shelter became involved in the case. District Attorney Patrick McGrath said his office would be making decisions on the felony charges based not on political pressure but on evidence.
A man identified only as a “retired kill buyer” reportedly called the group and said the rancher had to get rid of some of the horses and had even allegedly talked about just shooting the animals.
Horse Plus Humane Society have the horses in their care. If you wish to help, please go to their donation page and give generously.
“Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”
― Milan Kundera