Baker, LA (FOX44) — Animal control officers and sheriff's deputies seized a trio of horses Friday morning after months of complaints.
The team arrived at Don Pedigo's house around 10:00 a.m. and presented him an ultimatum.
"They come and got me and told me he was gonna put me in jail if I didn't turn the horses over," Pedigo said. "So I had to get rid of the horses."
Karen Moreau thought their action was long overdue.
"People that treat animals like that should go to jail," she stated.
She lives next door to Pedigo, and asked animal control officers to investigate Pedigo in December. As many as six horses lived on the property. According to Hilton Cole, director of animal control for East Baton Rouge Parish, the space they lived in was not big enough for that many horses, they did not have proper shelter, grass to graze on, or enough food to eat.
Moreau called frequently, and grew increasingly frustrated.
"And I honestly felt that nothing was going to be done," she said. "I got pretty upset, had some tears, and then Mr. Hilton come through and saved the horses."
Pedigo claimed the horses originally belonged to a man who leased part of the property, and he had no idea how bad their condition was until February.
"I was in the hospital there for a while, and went back out there, I seen the horses was neglected," Pedigo said. "But I didn't go out there in almost three months. I didn't go out there cause I couldn't walk; I had my knees replaced."
He said that the renter had taken three of the horses off the property by then. He started looking after them, and when the renter stopped paying him, Pedigo took full responsibility for their well-being. He claimed to have spent nearly $1,200 over the past month.
"I know I have did everything possible to raise these horses," he said. I got even the people at the feed store says, "Mr. Pedigo, how many horses are you feeding?' I said, 'I'm feeding three.' And they said, 'I can't believe that, as much feed as you've bought in the last month.'
"And the horses has already gained 100, close to 100 pounds."
Pedigo added that animal control officers showed up at his house earlier in the week and told him to build a shed for the horses to live in. He claimed to have bought supplies and was about to begin construction when the horses were taken away.
Cole told FOX44 he feared Pedigo was not going to follow through on his promises to take proper care of the horses, so he chose to seize them.
"I know good and well nobody that can take care of them horses better than I've been taking care of them," Pedigo stated. "Because I have spent every... like I say, I spent all that money on them, and I don't know what else to do."
Moreau said the sight of the animal control trucks made her cry.
"Tears of joy, happiness," she said. "I know they're going to be taken care of now.
"And I wasn't going to give up until those babies were taken care of."
Pedigo said he believes Moreau wanted the horses seized so she could take them for herself
"She's trying to mutilate me like I'm a animal hurter," Pedigo claimed. "I don't even hunt because I don't... I love animals."
Moreau denied that she has any interest in keeping the horses. She said a friend of hers is willing to pay to get the horses to Four Forks Shelter, a rescue facility near Shreveport, after they return to good health.
Cole said he has not made a decision about where to eventually take them, but he would like to keep all three horses together.