MILLINGTON (WJRT) (9/18/2017) - Photos of a sickly horse lying in a pasture near Millington circulating on social media have drawn a significant reaction on social media.
But, police who are investigating the case say there's no evidence of a crime being committed and the horses appear to be cared for adequately.
The photos show the horse as barely more than skin and bones with hooves grown out so much that it cannot stand. A family took the photos after trespassing onto the owner's property, then posted them to Facebook with a plea for help.
"I'm seeing a horse laying there, which is not normal. I'm seeing hooves over grown, I'm seeing sores on him, I'm seeing flies on him, I'm seeing grasshoppers and bees on him," Steve Kolaja explained. "He didn't have water. It's clearly a criminal act on the owner's behalf in my opinion and the horse needs to be taken from them."
Kolaja and his son saw the horse on Sunday when they drove by. Steve said his son immediately stopped the car, rushed to help the horse and called 911. He admitted they hopped a fence onto private property to get by the horse.
Kolaja described overgrown hooves and a softball-sized sore on the horse's back covered in insects. The horse was lying down and unable to stand. Kolaja and his son moved hay and water from about 30 feet away right up to the horse.
While they were in the pasture, the horse's owner came out to confront them. Kolaja says the owner claimed the hooves had recently been trimmed and acknowledged the sore on its back, but pointed out the horse has a leg condition.
Kolaja disputes the owner's claims.
"We saw this horse from the road. Why hasn't somebody reported this? And the owner actually said are you the ones that keep calling animal control?" Kolaja said. "So animal control is well aware of this situation with that statement and I don't know why something hasn't been done to help this horse."
The Tuscola County Sheriff's Office responded to the residence on Monday morning for a trespassing complaint. After speaking with the owner, a deputy said the ailing horse and two others on the property are being cared for by a local veterinarian. Animal control officers also have visited the pasture and agreed the horses all are being cared for properly.
Kolaja disagreed, but police declined to intervene further.
The horse's owner declined comment. He put up hay barrels to block views of the ailing horse from the roadway.