Severe neglect prompts removal of horses from property near Creswell

Lane County Animal Services and Lane County Sheriff’s Office, along with numerous community partners, are in the process of removing several horses from a property located near Creswell.

Initial investigation indicates multiple horses on the property are suffering from severe neglect. The decision to remove each horse will be made based on the condition of the animal in consultation with veterinarians.

Lane County District Attorney’s Office is partnering with Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services to pursue criminal charges against the horse owner, Gwenyth Davies, in connection to this case. The Lane County District Attorney’s Office is working with Oregon Animal Cruelty Deputy District Attorney Jake Kamins, who specializes in the prosecution of animal cruelty cases.

Davies, who resides at the property along with her husband Michael DeLeonardo, has had previous contacts with Animal Services regarding horses in poor condition in 2018. As a result of those contacts, she complied willingly and the horses of concern were brought to minimum care standards. An additional report of neglect was made in September, however, information to support further investigation was not provided.

This current investigation began when Lane County Animal Services received photographs of horses that appeared to be severely neglected on Oct. 16. The photographs were provided by Emerald Valley Equine Rescue after it received multiple complaints from people who used to board their horses with Davies.

Due to the large number of involved horses, Lane County quickly reached out to the Oregon Humane Society and rescue organizations to begin identifying partners who could help with the evaluation, removal, treatment and housing of so many large animals — which far exceeds local capacity.

“Ms. Davies is known to Animal Services,” said Lane County Senior Animal Welfare Officer Bernard Perkins. “While we typically focus on voluntary compliance and education, the level of alleged neglect and Ms. Davies’ history of violations goes far beyond what is acceptable in our community. We are grateful for the support of the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney in the pursuit of criminal charges.”

Many of the horses will be transported to an alternate location for further veterinary examination and treatment. Sound Equine Options, a Gresham-based rescue organization, will ultimately transport horses to its facility near Portland.

Sound Equine Options, a non-profit organization was founded in 2009 to assist the growing number of neglected, abused and abandoned horses in our community. Its mission is to save the lives of horses through support, education, rehabilitation, training and adoption.

In addition, to Sound Equine Options, Emerald Valley Horse Rescue, Oregon Humane Society, and Lane County Land Management Division are all assisting with the rescue operation and property compliance issues.

UPDATE (Oct. 31): A total of 61 horses were removed from the Creswell property Wednesday. The property owner, Gwenyth Davies, was arrested and cited in lieu of custody for Felony Animal Neglect in the Second Degree. This investigation is ongoing.


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