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Hay needed for rescued horses in Flathead County

Hay needed for rescued horses in Flathead County
Posted at 9:29 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 11:33:38-05

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office still needs hay to feed more than a dozen horses that were rescued in September.

“Some of them are still struggling, we have a couple that are still in critical, I would say they’re older horses that we are working with, working with veterinarians have them on special diets,” Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino told MTN News.

The Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control are working above and beyond to take care and nurture the 16 rescued horses.

“Can’t thank the Animal Control enough because they have been out there every day diligently feeding even when it’s minus-two and checking on the stock,” said Heino.

Cynthia Jean Hamilton has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the case. Hamilton, 68 years old, is being held at the Flathead County Detention Center.

According to Flathead County Sheriff's Office, on September 19, Flathead County Animal Control was dispatched to a residence in the Columbia Falls area for an animal cruelty complaint involving several horses.

Initial observation by responding animal wardens led them to believe the five horses were not being fed adequately.

During the course of their investigation, information was gathered indicating there were likely more horses belonging to the same owner being pastured at other addresses around Flathead County.

While following up on this information wardens located 17 horses in total, all said to be in very poor condition. It was reported that one horse may have died prior to the initial report.

Cynthia Jean Hamilton
Cynthia Jean Hamilton

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office applied for and were granted a search warrant for the pastures and subsequently seized 17 horses in various stages of starvation and other health issues.

The horses are now under the control of the Sheriff’s Office until the investigation is complete.

“The individual had moved these horses multiple times and when they landed here thankfully our community reached out to us immediately and we were able to get right on it,” added Heino.

Sheriff Heino said they received a sizeable donation of six tons of hay last week. However, more hay is needed as Sheriff Heino said each horse requires about a half-ton of hay a month as they recover.

“So, we’re kind of helping and asking from the community, I know this has been a tough hay crop year and so, anything that anyone can do to help us out would be greatly appreciated,” added Heino.

Sheriff Heino said it could potentially be months until the horses can be adopted or sold to a new family.

“These things take time, but we want to give them the best care we can for right now and keep them healthy, like I said working with our veterinarians, feeding them special diets, doing whatever we need to do,” said Heino.

If you would like to donate hay, contact the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office at