Top, two mares with their newborns. Below, these courageous neighbors, and more, helped to stop the suffering of scores of starving horses at the Bor Ranch (seen behind) in Lockwood Valley. They lift their hats to Ventura County Sheriff?s officers who responded to investigate. Senior Deputy Ryan Clark and Deputy William Hollowell took action that led Ventura County officials to coordinate a rescue plan. (back row) Chris Doyle, Mary Gridley, Clifford Wallace, Ross Clay, Ted Reed, Dawn Beban (front) Fred Beahm, Tina Jaskiewicz, Marlena Meigs, Darlene Francis and Patty Wallace.
By Patric Hedlund
A frisky springtime bounty of newborn foals is the happy outcome of rescue efforts by Lockwood Valley neighbors and the Humane Society of Ventura County, following a raid on Ernie, Joan and Cecilia Bor’s Cochema Ranch in October 2008.
“It’s getting very busy around here, but it’s great,” Jolene Hoffman, director of the Humane Society’s Ojai rescue center enthused. “We have five new foals—three colts and two fillies running and kicking around the yard. We are expecting four more within the month and eleven more mares are suspected to be pregnant, but not confirmed.”
Hoffman said she believes that six of the 51 horses removed from the Bor ranch eventually had to be euthanized because of illnesses related to being starved. Many of the horses were walking skeletons. A pile of dead horses was found at the back of the Bor property.
Hoffman’s shelter volunteers held around-the-clock vigils with the horses, feeding some five times a day, to help them regain their health. They provided vet services, shots, hoof trimming and dentistry so severely impaired animals could walk and eat.
The Humane Society has just completed construction of a “Mare Motel” bought with $49,000 in donations, including a bequest, to shelter the birthing mares.
About 20 concerned neighbors from the Mountain Communities wrote declarations last year about the alarming conditions in which the animals were being kept in Lockwood Valley by Ernie Bor, 30, Cecilia Bor, 35 and Joan Bor, 65. Their statements triggered a law enforcement raid on the facility to take starving horses into custody. The animals were trailered to rescue sites in the Ventura area. The Bor family has since left the Lockwood ranch, taking an estimated 50 additional horses with them. Their current location has not been confirmed. Neighbors report that the ranch is being sold by the bank and is in escrow.
The three Bors are under indictment in Ventura County on animal cruelty charges. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 7 at 8:15 a.m. in Superior Court, room 14. Several Lockwood neighbors say they plan to attend.
The Humane Society still needs funds for the ongoing care of the horses. Donations may be sent to the shelter at P.O. Box 297, Ojai, CA 93024 (www.humanesocietyvc.org).
—Alex Wilson helped report this story.
This is part of the April 10, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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