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LESAGE - Humane workers and police have seized 59 animals from a property along Fairview Ridge Road in Lesage, more than half of which are in critical condition.

According to Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle, the animals seized included 35 dogs, 16 horses, three cats, two donkeys and two mules. The horses, donkeys and mules were taken in by Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue and the dogs and cats were taken by the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter.

Zerkle said there were also carcasses of dead animals, and about half of the animals rescued are in critical condition and may not survive. He said it was one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he had seen.

The sheriff said the owner of the property has not been charged but will likely face both felony and misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty once a decision has been made by Cabell County Prosecutor Sean "Corky" Hammers.

Zerkle said animal cruelty cases keep happening, which shouldn't happen because of resources available to animal owners who cannot take care of them.

"If they can't take care of these animals, there are groups and organizations that'll take them. You don't have to starve them to death," Zerkle said.

Zerkle also commended the involved animal rescue groups.

"These rescue groups are invaluable to us," Zerkle said. "They help us handle situations we couldn't handle without them."

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.


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