A horse and a pony found wandering in the Prunedale area on Sunday are being held at the SPCA for Monterey County shelter and a $1,000 reward is being offered for the person or persons responsible for abandoning them.
The horses were noticed along Leafwood Road off Paradise Road, said SPCA spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser, wandering through neighborhood properties.
Residents didn't recognize them, she said, leading the SPCA to believe the horse and pony were brought from outside the area and turned loose.
Brookhouser said the pony is a 7-year-old palomino mare and the horse is a 20-year-old bay gelding. Both were thin, suffering from tick infestations and lack of dental care, she said. The gelding has arthritis in both front knees, mild sand colic and bad teeth.
The SPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever abandoned them, she said.
"Abandonment is a crime," Brookhouser said. Other charges could include violations of state law that prohibit allowing animals to go without veterinary care, animal cruelty and deprivation of food and water.
"We hope someone recognizes them and we can find out who abandoned them," Brookhouser said. "There is a chance they wandered off, but nobody in the area recognized them or had seen them before. They would have had to come a long way."
Last fiscal year, the shelter spent $371,534 for all its barn animals, most of it for horses, Brookhouser said. The SPCA is not tax-supported, she said.
Last month, senior barn technician Stephanie Nicora said the SPCA had 32 horses on its hands, surrendered by owners or seized after animal neglect or cruelty investigations.
The shelter maintains eight open paddocks and five barn stalls for horses undergoing treatment, Nicora said. The rest graze in a 218-acre pasture or go to Prunedale for training, she said. There is no time limit for horses at the shelter, she said, and they are only euthanized for medical conditions if there is no other recourse.
To donate to help abused and neglected animals, call 264-5421, or see atwww.SPCAmc.org.
Anyone with information or who can identify the horses can call the SPCA at 373-2631. Calls are confidential.
Kevin Howe can be reached at 646-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org