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County shuts down horse sanctuary

June 17, 2008|Sam Quinones | Times Staff Writers

Los Angeles County animal control officials closed an Antelope Valley horse sanctuary Monday, euthanizing a dozen animals and relocating almost 90 more.

Authorities also arrested Janis Damiani, the caretaker of Equus Sanctuary in Pearblossom, on suspicion of animal cruelty, according to the L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control.

The sanctuary has been home to almost a hundred aging and infirm horses for the last year, but county officials say the facility has cared improperly for the animals during the last six months.

Department spokeswoman Michelle Roache said investigators discovered that some horses were emaciated, had open sores or could barely walk. Equus' water had been turned off, she said, and there was no food available for the animals.

Ranch volunteer Roland Vincent disputed those claims Monday, saying the ranch had water and the animals never missed a meal.

"They don't look like Big Brown, so they think something's wrong with them," Vincent said. "They're 35 and they're old."

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sam.quinones@latimes.com

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