16 Horses Seized From Estate Owner

The horses, all Thoroughbreds of various ages, were seized by Riverside County Animal Services from 19870 Hitt Lane in the community of La Cresta, just west of Wildomar.

Sixteen horses were seized out of a posh community in unincorporated Riverside County Thursday morning after a nearly yearlong animal cruelty investigation.

The horses, all Thoroughbreds of various ages, were seized by Riverside County Animal Services from 19870 Hitt Lane in the community of La Cresta, just west of Wildomar.

According to Dr. Allan Drusys, Riverside County chief veterinarian, many of the horses were malnourished.

“Twelve to 13 of the horses are very much underweight,” Dr. Drusys said, noting that the property owner had been prescribed a veterinary treatment plan.

“She has failed to live up to her side,” Dr. Drusys said.

Janice Deutsch, 46, owns the multi-acre Spanish-style equestrian property on Hitt Lane and explained that she is the registered owner of half the horses that were seized; the other animals, she said, are owned by boarders.

Deutsch, who shares the residence with her 85-year-old mother, admitted that some of the equines under her care are too skinny, but contended that her property fell victim to a disease outbreak earlier this year that caused the weight loss.

“We had strangles here,” she said. “Some of the horses dropped weight because of it and are too skinny, but we have been working to get them back up.

Strangles is a bacterial infection that affects a horse’s respiratory system.

According to Sgt. Lesley Huennekens of Riverside County Animal Services, there was no report of a strangles outbreak on Duetsch’s property.

During Thursday’s seizure, most of the horses on the property were given a body score by Dr. Drusys of between Grade 2 and Grade 4. The grade system is used by equine veterinarians to assess a horse’s body weight. According to Dr. Drusys, a healthy horse is typically a Grade 3.

Deutsch said her primary care veterinarian prescribed a straight alfalfa hay diet for the thin animals. However, Deutsch said she didn’t feel an all-alfalfa diet was appropriate, citing that she believed it would make her horses sick.

Money was not the issue, Deutsch said of costly hay prices. “We just needed the time to get the animals healthy.”

Norm Lindsay, who boards a horse on Deutsch’s property, was concerned about how he would get his animal back.

“I can’t get any information,” he said.

Lindsay said he felt many of the horses on Deutsch’s property were too thin, but said it was due to “ignorance.”

“She didn’t feed them enough calories,” he said flatly. “But she’s doing what they told her to do. This [the seizure] is not a horse rescue, it’s a horse rip-off.”

But Deutsch said she is not new to the horse world, having experience as a racehorse trainer.  

“I was at Pomona Fairgrounds and Hollywood Park,” she said, but admitted that her trainer’s license was revoked because of her failure to pay fees that were due.

According to John Welsh, public information officer for Riverside County Animal Services, Deutsch was given ample time to get the animals healthy.

“She has not been cooperating,” he said. “This investigation has been ongoing for nearly a year.”

Welsh said the seized horses will be relocated to a ranch in unincorporated Riverside County, near Hemet. In the meantime, Riverside County Animal Services will file animal cruelty charges with the district attorney’s office.

If, through the courts, the horses become county property, they will be adopted out, Welsh said.

“We would go out of our way to adopt them out,” Dr. Drusys said.





stephanie September 23, 2011 at 01:08 AM
She should never be allowed to have horses or any other animals again. Why did it take almost one year to help those horses? Riverside County Animal Services needs to re-evaluate its policies and procedures and take action much quicker. This is an outrage in many respects.
Mr. Lada September 23, 2011 at 05:42 AM
I'd give this skinny skank a Grade 2.
Michelle Deskin September 23, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Ok, so the horses on average were between a 2 & a 4, 3 being fine? That tells me most of them were ok? From the pictures, the horses did NOT look that bad. Animal Services should have spoken to the veterinarian first before seizing the horses! The government agencies are looking for money whereever they can find it. It says nothing about speaking to the vet, why? We all love to judge people by how they look, however, that is not right at all. How did their pens look? Were they clean? Was there food in the horses pens when they got there? Was there food on the property for the horse? Did they have a source of clean water for every horse? Was there disease evident in their teeth? What was the condition of the ranch? Were the owners of he other horses paying their boarding money for their horses food? How come the boarders of these horses have said nothing to the ranch owner for a year? This whole thing sounds hoaky! There are many questions & the pictures only show 1 skinny horse & 2 healthy horses.... There needs to be more facts before anyone can judge on this one...:-(
Anthony September 26, 2011 at 11:29 PM
I agree with Michelle! The county should hire you Michelle....
The Powers That Be November 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Michelle, The Horse Rescue Industrial Complex is born. Follow the money, the horse brokers, the owners of the facilities taking in the horses, the agents who brokered the land where county money was usec to build the facilities reportedly to save horses. Those horses looked just fine and somebody is making money here. You will find a something that looks like the PIC. THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. An entity used that profits from stealing horses through the system. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison%E2%80%93industrial_complex Hopefully a good investigative reporter will follow up on your opinion and my post. Underneath this you will find a local or 2 or 3 who are profiting big by threatening horse owners. The time has come for a serious investigation on this whole horse stealing and I mean scam using your tax dollars. Follow the money!
kc June 01, 2013 at 01:35 PM
these horses are now available for adoption. wonder how much it cost the county to feed them for a year and half. someone made some bucks off them for their care, cause they were boarded out, not kept at the shelter


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