Malnourished horses are rescued from negligent owner - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Malnourished horses are rescued from negligent owner by authorities

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Three horses in Clarksville are lucky to finally have the most basic needs: water, food and a guardian who cares. They've been so neglected, some of their ribs and other bones can be seen pushing through their emaciated bodies.

"This one is the worst," said Jamie Clifton, president of the Volunteer Equine Advocates, as she cared for one of the malnourished horses. "It is a 1.5 on a body condition scoring scale of one to nine," she added.

Police say their owner, Timothy Decent, kept them on his Whitfield Road property without access to food. "This person's property was just a junk hole," Clifton said. "It's a wonder they didn't have injuries from all the old equipment that was laying around all over the place," she added.

The most unsettling news is the manner in which authorities found the horses. While responding to another call, a Clarksville officer looked up and saw a dead foal hanging from a tree in Decent's yard.  

"I thought I had seen just about everything with abuse and neglect of horses, but when I saw the picture of that hanging from that tree, it just was extremely disturbing," Clifton said. Decent told police the foal had died for unknown reasons, and he hung it so he could keep the hide, but forgot about it. Clifton believes the hanging foal belonged to one of the malnourished mares.

Decent is now facing aggravated animal cruelty charges, a new tougher charge police issued from the original animal abuse charge after learning this wasn't his first offense. "After they charged him with that, they found that he had a prior conviction in Michigan of torturing an animal," Clifton said.

Animal advocates said they hope this charge will finally be his last. "He should get a lot of jail time, and he should get a lifetime ban on owning animals of any kind," Clifton said.

The three rescued horses are now in rehabilitation. The chickens were taken to Willy's Happy Endings. A number of local agencies assisted in rescuing the animals, including the Clarksville Humane Society, Horse Haven of Tennessee, Volunteer Equine Advocates, Willy's Happy Endings and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Clarksville Police say the TWRA may be filing additional charges

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