Close to four dozen horses seized by Bexar County now have their futures in limbo. On Monday, a hearing will take place to determine whether or not these animals were treated cruelly by Schwartz Foundation Farms in Converse, and where they'll eventually end up.
Stephanie Buck owns the Yellow Rose Carriage Company. Her horse, Bethany, was looking healthy in October, still on the job. But Bethany had to be retired after requiring treatment in one of her eyes. Buck says that Schwartz Foundation Farms seemed the best place for her. She said,
"I was told she was going to be a therapy horse and she was going to be loved and cared for until her dying day," Buck said.
But that's not what happened. Cindy Healer, a former contractor for the organization gave her unsettling news.
"She was the one that raised the red flag to me and told me Bethany was losing weight and there was something wrong down at the farm," Buck said.
"The horses started losing weight. They wouldn't get veterinarian care out there," Healer explained.
In April, before she got to Schwartz Foundation Farms, Bethany looked healthy. But just two months later, after arriving there, Healer says that Bethany was emaciated.
"It got to the point where you couldn't do it anymore and I had to walk away. And that's when I said if I couldn't help them while I was there, I was going to help them from the other side of the fence," Healer recalled.
That help came in the form of a warrant from Bexar County seizing all of the horses, which are now at Meadow Haven Horse Rescue in Smiley, where we are told that they're doing much better.
Bethany is reportedly showing improvement.
But professional farrier Brandon Rogers, who worked with Schwartz Foundation Farms, says that other animals still remain and many are forced to eat food that's hardly food.
"It's black mold and after a couple of days of opening the barrels, and flies get in they lay their eggs and you have maggots crawling up the sides," Rogers described.
Whether or not they go back to Schwartz Foundation Farms is up to the judge Monday.
"You can look those horses, those sheep, those rabbits in their eyes, and they are just begging, begging for somebody to help them because they've been failed so many times," Healer said.
We tried to reach the owner of Schwartz Foundation Farms, Andrew Schwartz, but were unable to do so.
Meadow Haven Horse Rescue says that these horses need your help. There is a fundraising Facebook page with an auction where you can donate money to help rehabilitate the horses and get prizes in return.