Three Arrested in Horse Abuse Case

  • A caravan of official vehicles arrived at the Bor family ranch in Lockwood Valley at 7:30 a.m. Wed-nesday, Oct. 8. Ernie Bor (left) and two others were arrested for felony animal cruelty. [Meyer photo]

    A caravan of official vehicles arrived at the Bor family ranch in Lockwood Valley at 7:30 a.m. Wed-nesday, Oct. 8. Ernie Bor (left) and two others were arrested for felony animal cruelty. [Meyer photo]

By Gary Meyer and Patric Hedlund

FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m.) — Three Lockwood Valley horse owners were arrested this morning in a raid conducted jointly by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, Humane Society of Ventura County, Ventura County Animal Control and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. More than 20 officers, county officials and veterinarians arrived in 12 vehicles to present a search warrant, seize evidence and take the owners into custody.

Joan Bor, 65; her son Ernie Bor (aka Ernie Ruiz), 30 and his wife Cecelia Bor, 35 were arrested on multiple counts of felony animal cruelty according to Ventura County Sherifff’s Captain Ross Bonfiglio. This occurred after a two week long investigation which began when neighbors banded together to provide written statements to authorities about alleged animal cruelty at the ranch. Over 100 horses were alleged to be malnourished or starving.

Lockwood resident Patty Wallace told The Mountain Enterprise on September 23 she was tired of waiting for the Humane Society to take action. She called the Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s sub-station that afternoon and told them horses were dying and they should do something. (see The Mountain Enterprise story, September 26 edition)

Ventura County Sheriff’s Sr. Deputy Ryan Clark and Deputy William Hollowell entered the ranch and investigated the claims made by Wallace and over a dozen others in written statements provided to deputies by Wallace.

The Humane Society of Ventura County arrived at Cochema Ranch the following day and took custody of 14 horses. Unconfirmed reports are that one horse had to be euthanized. More than 80 horses were left at the property, while authorities continued their investigation. A helicopter fly-over for The Mountain Enterprise last week showed an large horse trailer prepaered for loading. It appeared that numerous horses were already been reoved from the property.

Cecelia Bor told The Mountain Enterprise on September 23, when asked about past visits from humane officers, “They came out and nothing is ever wrong. We have the same accusations. It has happened over and over again. Nothing ever comes of it. Nothing ever happens to us because the animals are always taken care of.”

According to Captain Bonfiglio, the Bors would remain in custody until either the bail amount of $10,000 each is posted or a judge approves their release on their own recognizance, which could be as soon as several hours from the time of arrest.

Above, horse owner Ernie Bor is escorted through his property by Sheriff’s deputies and Humane Officers 20 minutes before being taken into custody.

Kathleen Kaiser of the Humane Society of Ventura County (HSVC) said HSVC was planning to remove 34 additional horses from the property today. She said HSVC desperately needs the community’s help in the form of donations of feed, corral piping, supplments and more. Contact HSVC at (805) 646-6505 if you would like to help. More information will be posted here and in The Mountain Enterprise. "These horses have become almost feral from being confined and neglected," she said. "They’re going to need health care and a lot of treatment. It’s going to take months to save them," Kaiser said.

During the operation this morning, according to Captain Bonfiglio, an accident occurred in which a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) investigator was injured when trampled by a horse and was evacuated by helicopter to medical care. A reporter for The Mountain Enterprise spoke with her at the scene about 40 minutes before the accident happened (see photo below). Forest Service officials could not release information about the incident or the employee, until an investigation was completed, according to USFS spokesman Joe Pasinato.

Above, USFS Agent who was injured shortly after this photo was taken.

This is part of the October 10, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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