Horses improving, but shelter needs hay

The horses at the center of an animal cruelty case are all showing signs of improvement, nearly two weeks after county officials were notified of the situation.

Clark County Animal Shelter Director Adreanna Wills said the shelter has custody of seven horses, while another 14 remain on the property on Irvine Road but under the shelter’s care.

The owners, Robert F. Fraichard II and Cynthia Konsella, are scheduled to be arraigned on second-degree cruelty to animals Monday in Clark District Court.

Wills said the shelter took two of the horses on Feb. 16, and they were treated in an equine hospital for six days. They are now in foster care with five other horses, which the owners surrendered on Feb. 17.

“Most of them are still on the thin side but are not what we would consider emaciated,” Wills said.

When sheriff’s deputies and shelter officials were called to the scene at 1455 Irvine Road, they found one horse already dead and others around the property that appeared malnourished and dehydrated, according to court documents. There appeared to be little food, hay or water around the property.

A veterinarian was called to the scene and had to euthanize one horse.

Wills said the staff and resources have been stretched by suddenly caring for 21 horses of all sizes and ages, but donations have helped.

“Our biggest challenge has been hay,” Wills said. “Everyone has struggled with finding hay this year. We’ve been fortunate and had some people donate. For the most part, we’re buying hay.”

The larger horses can go through a bale a day each; smaller horses require less, she said.

“(Hay) is what’s going to save their lives,” Wills said. “That’s what they need to survive.”

The shelter’s budget has been stressed as well.

“Our biggest expense is the medical expenses for the horses that needed care,” she said. “As this goes on, I expect the cost of hay to surpass that.”

Wills said she is looking for grants to offset the costs, and donations are always welcome.

The horses’ owners, she said, have been cooperative with allowing shelter staff to care for and monitor the horses on their property.

In court documents, Fraichard told deputies he was going to get more feed and hay for the horses, but was overwhelmed and had problems caring for the horses.

Both Fraichard and Konsella are free on bond.