Humane Law Enforcement officers with the Pennsylvania SPCA removed one dead horse and rescued three mistreated horses Tuesday afternoon from what they say is an illegal stable on the 3200 block of North 11th Street near Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia.
Officers made the grisly discovery around 10 a.m., but the PSPCA did not obtain a search warrant to remove the animals until about 1 p.m.
The PSPCA in a release said Humane Law Enforcement officers have been for several weeks investigating the stable, whose owner allegedly rented out stall spaceillegally to various people and kept horses in "a series of ramshackle structures."
In addition to today's recovery, two emaciated horses and two dead horses have been rescued from the same lot this year alone, according to the PSPCA. Though its owner was ordered to cease operations and remove all animals, additional horses were allegedly brought onto the property within the past week.
It is legal to own a horse in Philadelphia – provided the animal is properly cared for – but the ordinance has sparked controversy, as horses are responsible for the highest number of animal cruelty complaints received by the PSPCA, following dogs and cats.
“Because there are no ordinances prohibiting the ownership of horses
in the city, this is common problem we face,” PSPCA Humane Law Enforcement director George Bengal said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, these animals often end up suffering from cruelty and
neglect because they are not kept in conditions conducive to the need to
The rescued horses will be taken back to PSPCA headquarters for examinations and veterinary care before being transferred to either the organization's Danville branch or to a third-party rescue group. A necropsy will be performed on the deceased horse in order to determine its cause of death.
Animal cruelty charges are expected to be filed against both the owner of the property and the owner of the dead horse after the investigation is complete, according to the PSPCA.