OVID TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Mar. 2, 2014) – An animal neglect investigation is ripping through the community of Coldwater.
Police tell FOX 17 they found one dead horse at a local farm and nine others severely neglected.
Geoffrey Eickmann, 33, owns the property, and he was extradited to Branch County after being arrested at his workplace in Indiana.
“We noticed there was never any hay out there for them, and it just got worse and worse,” Janet Carpenter said. She’s one of the many neighbors who called police about the sickly, malnourished horses on Eickmann’s property.
Fence posts at the farm were gnawed down, and bark was stripped from the trees as, police say, the starving horses struggled to survive.
“It’s gut wrenching,” Deputy Allen Flemming of the Branch County Sheriff’s Department said.
Neighbors and friends say they brought the horses hay and water in attempts to help, and investigators tell FOX 17 they had every intention of offering help as well. “They were gonna try to help him, and it just wasn’t working out,” Carpenter said. “Then things kind of accelerated when they found the dead horse in one of the barns.”
It wasn’t always this way, according to Carpenter, who says that there were once at least 20 horses on the Eickmann farm. And Eickmann once trained a Grand Champion horse.* He got engaged to his wife Justine at a horse show.
FOX 17 knocked on the Eickmann’s door searching for answers, but no one answered.
Now there are questions about the other horses that used to be on the farm as neighbors fear the worse. “I really hope not, but it’s hard to say,” Carpenter said. “You just don’t know what happened to the other ones.”
There are resources available for people who may not be able to feed their animals – especially horses after a recent spike in hay prices. You can contact your local animal control or a local humane society.
Police say the nine horses removed from the Eickmann farm are receiving veterinary care.
*In this video, Geoffrey Eickmann achieves Grand Champion with horse PT Cruiser:
In this YouTube video, Eickmann asks his girlfriend, Justine, to marry him: