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Starving horses found on lottery winner's ranch

California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: Starving horses found on lottery winner's ranch
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Eight malnourished horses were found on a 40-acre ranch northeast of Sanger that is owned by a couple who a decade ago won a $40 million California Lottery jackpot.

On Wednesday, Fresno County Sheriff's deputies arrested the owner of the horses, Jose Francisco Romo, 47. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail on felony animal cruelty charges. He was released from jail on a $40,000 bond Wednesday night. Bail was listed at $40,000.

There were 11 horses total, and Romo signed over ownership of all of them to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Beth Caffrey, the SPCA's human education administrator. Eight of the horses were removed Wednesday, she said. The last three will be removed today.

It is at least the third time in two months that local officials have come across herds of malnourished and mistreated horses in Fresno County.

In December, SPCA officials found more than 30 mistreated horses at farms in north Clovis and near Riverdale. Caffrey also said two other investigations are in the works, and the SPCA has quietly taken in other stray and mistreated horses.

Caffrey called the spate of cases "the worst in 40 years, going back through all our history."

In the most recent incident, Caffrey said the malnourished horses all scored either a one or between a one and a two on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System. That means they are in "poor" or "very thin" condition.

The horses were on a property that abuts the Friant-Kern Canal near Clinton and Riverbend avenues.

Melanie Skadden, a neighbor of Romo's, called the SPCA after seeing several horses in poor condition on the property.

Skadden said Romo and his wife, Trudy, moved to the home not long after winning the lottery in 2001.

California Lottery officials on Wednesday wouldn't confirm any information on the Romos, saying it was private. But a woman who identified herself as Trudy Romo's mother — and who lived at a central Fresno property listed as owned by the Romos — confirmed that her daughter and son-in-law were the 2001 SuperLotto Plus winners. She also said the couple had separated, and she did not know Jose Romo had been arrested. She declined to say more.

Neither Jose nor Trudy Romo could be reached to comment Wednesday.

Skadden said there were once 12 horses on the property, but the skeletal remains of one was found along the canal.

Last Friday, she said, a neighbor called her and expressed concern about the health of the horses. Skadden and her husband looked at the horses and were so concerned they called the SPCA.

The investigation started Saturday, sheriff's officials said. SPCA officials were at the site both Saturday and Sunday to confirm the allegation of neglected horses.

By Wednesday morning, the SPCA had reported the incident to sheriff's deputies and requested their help in removing the starving horses.

According to information from the sheriff's department, Jose Romo was at the property — which includes a home — when deputies arrived.

In December, what was called one of the largest cases of animal cruelty seen in the Fresno area in recent years resulted in the SPCA taking 18 abused horses and euthanizing another from a ranch on Shepherd Avenue just west of Temperance Avenue in north Clovis.

Less than a week later, a herd of starving and dead horses was found on a farm near Riverdale. Caffrey at the time said 14 horses were found hungry and dehydrated, and two had to be euthanized.

Four horse carcasses also were discovered on the property when the SPCA arrived.

Caffrey said the SPCA still has all the horses from the Clovis farm. The horse owner, Dana Thomas Kahler, was booked into the Fresno County Jail. On Wednesday, an official with the Fresno County District Attorney's Office said prosecutors are still waiting on paperwork from investigators before proceeding with a case against Kahler.

Horses from the Riverdale-area farm are being cared for by the owner, but under monitoring by the SPCA. That investigation continues, Caffrey said.

The horses taken to the SPCA on Wednesday will be cared for with an eye toward adoption, she said.

Caffrey cited the poor economy for the explosion in malnourished and mistreated horses. In addition, she said, the dry winter has kept pastures thin. In years past, the animals could survive on grasses nourished by rain.

"It's probably going to get worse," she said. "That's what we're terrified of."

Fresno Bee

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31 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by paul762.
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Bahamas
Member #114685
August 5, 2011
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Posted: February 17, 2012, 9:04 am - IP Logged

Eight malnourished horses were found on a 40-acre ranch northeast of Sanger that is owned by a couple who a decade ago won a $40 million California Lottery jackpot.

On Wednesday, Fresno County Sheriff's deputies arrested the owner of the horses, Jose Francisco Romo, 47. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail on felony animal cruelty charges. He was released from jail on a $40,000 bond Wednesday night. Bail was listed at $40,000.

There were 11 horses total, and Romo signed over ownership of all of them to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Beth Caffrey, the SPCA's human education administrator. Eight of the horses were removed Wednesday, she said. The last three will be removed today.

It is at least the third time in two months that local officials have come across herds of malnourished and mistreated horses in Fresno County.

In December, SPCA officials found more than 30 mistreated horses at farms in north Clovis and near Riverdale. Caffrey also said two other investigations are in the works, and the SPCA has quietly taken in other stray and mistreated horses.

Caffrey called the spate of cases "the worst in 40 years, going back through all our history."

In the most recent incident, Caffrey said the malnourished horses all scored either a one or between a one and a two on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System. That means they are in "poor" or "very thin" condition.

The horses were on a property that abuts the Friant-Kern Canal near Clinton and Riverbend avenues.

Melanie Skadden, a neighbor of Romo's, called the SPCA after seeing several horses in poor condition on the property.

Skadden said Romo and his wife, Trudy, moved to the home not long after winning the lottery in 2001.

California Lottery officials on Wednesday wouldn't confirm any information on the Romos, saying it was private. But a woman who identified herself as Trudy Romo's mother — and who lived at a central Fresno property listed as owned by the Romos — confirmed that her daughter and son-in-law were the 2001 SuperLotto Plus winners. She also said the couple had separated, and she did not know Jose Romo had been arrested. She declined to say more.

Neither Jose nor Trudy Romo could be reached to comment Wednesday.

Skadden said there were once 12 horses on the property, but the skeletal remains of one was found along the canal.

Last Friday, she said, a neighbor called her and expressed concern about the health of the horses. Skadden and her husband looked at the horses and were so concerned they called the SPCA.

The investigation started Saturday, sheriff's officials said. SPCA officials were at the site both Saturday and Sunday to confirm the allegation of neglected horses.

By Wednesday morning, the SPCA had reported the incident to sheriff's deputies and requested their help in removing the starving horses.

According to information from the sheriff's department, Jose Romo was at the property — which includes a home — when deputies arrived.

In December, what was called one of the largest cases of animal cruelty seen in the Fresno area in recent years resulted in the SPCA taking 18 abused horses and euthanizing another from a ranch on Shepherd Avenue just west of Temperance Avenue in north Clovis.

Less than a week later, a herd of starving and dead horses was found on a farm near Riverdale. Caffrey at the time said 14 horses were found hungry and dehydrated, and two had to be euthanized.

Four horse carcasses also were discovered on the property when the SPCA arrived.

Caffrey said the SPCA still has all the horses from the Clovis farm. The horse owner, Dana Thomas Kahler, was booked into the Fresno County Jail. On Wednesday, an official with the Fresno County District Attorney's Office said prosecutors are still waiting on paperwork from investigators before proceeding with a case against Kahler.

Horses from the Riverdale-area farm are being cared for by the owner, but under monitoring by the SPCA. That investigation continues, Caffrey said.

The horses taken to the SPCA on Wednesday will be cared for with an eye toward adoption, she said.

Caffrey cited the poor economy for the explosion in malnourished and mistreated horses. In addition, she said, the dry winter has kept pastures thin. In years past, the animals could survive on grasses nourished by rain.

"It's probably going to get worse," she said. "That's what we're terrified of."

Please let investigations confirm these were STRAYS as wealthy or not this would be nothing short of an atrocity if it proves to be WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE.

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    United States
    Member #111442
    May 25, 2011
    6323 Posts
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    Posted: February 17, 2012, 9:31 am - IP Logged

    These type of animal/pet owners are a  DISCRACE to our communities. Like dead beat parents, their pictures should be publicly posted. They should

    never be allowed to have any type of animals ever again. period.    No No     Smash

      NightStalker's avatar - 50logo
      East of Columbus, OH
      United States
      Member #120843
      December 28, 2011
      451 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: February 17, 2012, 10:43 am - IP Logged

      Sad really . . .

       

      Looks like another lottery winner out of money.

      Life's Too Short To Be Unhappy Cool

        Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
        S.E.Iowa
        United States
        Member #120504
        December 21, 2011
        534 Posts
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        Posted: February 17, 2012, 11:44 am - IP Logged

        I always knew that owning horses was an expensive hobby,but this is ridiculous.Why own them if you aren't going to take care of them?

        When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

        There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

          sandia's avatar - disney24
          TEXAS
          United States
          Member #107766
          March 13, 2011
          196 Posts
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          Posted: February 17, 2012, 12:21 pm - IP Logged

           He malnourished animals, how sad. If you decide to own animals, for God's sake, care for them. Just like children, they cannot be discarded away. Whoever makes a concious decision to have them, better be ready to handle the responsibility, they are not commodities to be ill treated and discarded at will.

            The human race is running amok....Unhappy

            mediabrat's avatar - 18z0typ
            upstate NY
            United States
            Member #108791
            March 31, 2011
            549 Posts
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            Posted: February 17, 2012, 1:56 pm - IP Logged

            Please let investigations confirm these were STRAYS as wealthy or not this would be nothing short of an atrocity if it proves to be WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE.

            Stray cats or dogs I can understand, but stray HORSES?  The mind, it boggles.

              RedStang's avatar - tallman zps6gf4inoc.jpg
              NY
              United States
              Member #121961
              January 21, 2012
              3157 Posts
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              Posted: February 17, 2012, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

              The courts need to rewrite animal abuse laws. Take the horses and throw the owners in jail. I see this stuff on animal planet and all it takes is a call to the spca. Vet bills are very expensive, but there's no excuse for starving an animal.

                rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                United States
                Member #73904
                April 28, 2009
                14903 Posts
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                Posted: February 17, 2012, 5:44 pm - IP Logged

                I have no tolerance for people who abuse animals. I wish they could starve this guy til his ribs are sticking out as far as those horses' were and then give him 20 years in the slammer to think about it.


                                                             
                                     
                                                         

                 

                 

                 

                 

                                                                                                                   

                "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

                 

                 

                  Avatar
                  Seattle, Washington
                  United States
                  Member #121153
                  January 3, 2012
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                  Posted: February 17, 2012, 6:15 pm - IP Logged

                  What a bunch of morons.  Not only for abusing animals that trusted them, but apparently blowing a $40 million lotto jackpot.  If we do the math, they probably ended up with $10 million net (after taxes), if they took it in a lump sum.  How in the hell do you blow $10 million in 10 years?  Christ almighty; that's blowing through a million a year for a decade.  I don't think I could spend that much if I tried...

                    Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                    S.E.Iowa
                    United States
                    Member #120504
                    December 21, 2011
                    534 Posts
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                    Posted: February 17, 2012, 6:24 pm - IP Logged

                    What a bunch of morons.  Not only for abusing animals that trusted them, but apparently blowing a $40 million lotto jackpot.  If we do the math, they probably ended up with $10 million net (after taxes), if they took it in a lump sum.  How in the hell do you blow $10 million in 10 years?  Christ almighty; that's blowing through a million a year for a decade.  I don't think I could spend that much if I tried...

                    If you pick the wrong finacial advisor and don't pay enough attention how your money is invested,it would be pretty easy to blow through that kind of money.My own personal opinion of financial advisers is most are parastes.If they were any good at their job,they would be retired and living on a south pacific island enjoying the money they made.

                    When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                    There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                      sully16's avatar - sharan
                      Ringleader
                      Michigan
                      United States
                      Member #81740
                      October 28, 2009
                      40451 Posts
                      Online
                      Posted: February 17, 2012, 7:32 pm - IP Logged

                      I have no tolerance for people who abuse animals. I wish they could starve this guy til his ribs are sticking out as far as those horses' were and then give him 20 years in the slammer to think about it.

                      I Agree!No excuse for animal abuse.

                      Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                      For a lead role in a cage?

                       

                                                                  From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                        dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                        Oklahoma
                        United States
                        Member #82391
                        November 12, 2009
                        6290 Posts
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                        Posted: February 17, 2012, 7:50 pm - IP Logged

                        I have no tolerance for people who abuse animals. I wish they could starve this guy til his ribs are sticking out as far as those horses' were and then give him 20 years in the slammer to think about it.

                        Thumbs Up

                          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                          adelaide sa
                          Australia
                          Member #37136
                          April 11, 2006
                          3300 Posts
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                          Posted: February 17, 2012, 7:53 pm - IP Logged

                          If you pick the wrong finacial advisor and don't pay enough attention how your money is invested,it would be pretty easy to blow through that kind of money.My own personal opinion of financial advisers is most are parastes.If they were any good at their job,they would be retired and living on a south pacific island enjoying the money they made.

                          thats what the good ones do, they find a lotto winner, and end up on a tropical island with the money the lotto winner lost. 

                          i actually have sympathy for the lotto winners,... now hear me out. befe you curse me.

                           

                          they prob are just every day scmoes like you ands me, and winning the lotto is supposed to be the  best thing in their lives right?

                          look at them now! like some one said " how the hell "  they are prob asking the same questions of themselves. 12 horses, why have 12, when you could have 1, and see if you like the responsibilty.

                          because theres no one to say no to you any more. and as you are a lotto winner EVERYONE will extend you credit until you are broke.

                          imagine winning $10M clear and being told you need to go on a budget!  wellthse people obiously needed to be told that.

                           

                          oh i fee lfor the horse,  but there are many more  mistreated horses out there, what brought this to ourr attention? the fact it was a lotto winner.

                          what about the 100's of other mistreated horses that have owners that didnt win lotto? do we care about them? do we hear?

                           

                          sure its a tradgedy, and they should have sold or given them away to good homes before they got to this state if they couldnt afford  to keep them.

                          i aint condemning the people, o ill pity them., and ill look at their  situation and use it as a tough lesson about  what not to do if i strike it rich.

                          2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                          keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297


                            United States
                            Member #111442
                            May 25, 2011
                            6323 Posts
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                            Posted: February 17, 2012, 8:08 pm - IP Logged

                            I have no tolerance for people who abuse animals. I wish they could starve this guy til his ribs are sticking out as far as those horses' were and then give him 20 years in the slammer to think about it.

                            That would be a good "start".   I Agree!