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Horse Abuse Allegations Made in Ionia County

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. (March 5, 2014) — Several horses on an Ionia County farm will get examined by a veterinarian after abuse allegations, according to county officials.

The animals are housed on Barbara Walters’ Clarksville property. She rents out the farm to tenants that own several horses. She said the horses are so hungry, she watched them eat their own feces.

Walters owns two of the horses.

“Part of the agreement was for them to provide water and to make sure that [my horses also] had hay at all times. I had 20 big round bales of hay brought into the arena, and there’s 16 [bales] there. So all year long, they’ve had probably four bales,” she explained.

Walters reached out to FOX 17. She said her tenants aren’t taking care of any of the horses. FOX 17 spotted water outside in a tub that was frozen.
Walters said buckets inside the barn have very little water.

“This is the one I’m most concerned about,” Walters showed one of the horses.

“You can see the hip bone sticking up,” she pointed out.

As we looked at the horses, the tenants showed up.

“Hi ma’am. I’m with FOX 17. I’m here to ask you about your horses,” I asked.

“I have nothing to say,” Linda Collier replied.

“Are these horses being taken care of properly?” I followed up.

“Yes, they are,” Collier said, adding that animal control had been there.

The tenants then grabbed a couple bales of hay from a trailer to take into the stalls.

Scott Collier came home and agreed to answer our questions.

“She’s making false accusations. She’s lying. She’s trying to do everything and anything she can to make this into something that it isn’t,” Scott Collier explained.

“You’re saying this is not really about the horses?” I asked.

“No, because if it was. Why would she wait until now?” Collier replied.

He said his family cares for the horses and thinks Walters’ accusations boil down to rent money. He believes it’s part of a plan to get them evicted and move in higher paying tenants.

“I just really worry for these horses. I want to get them help,” Walters said.

Jill Fritz is with the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition. Although she doesn’t know much about this case, she works to place neglected horses in better homes.

“Many of the cases that we’ve been involved in, have been cases where help was readily available to people, but they did not take it and they let their animals get into a bad conditions. And law enforcement had to intervene,” Fritz explained.

The coaltion can provide hay through a hay bank and also veterinary care.

“Our goal to help people keep their horses with them on their farms, and keep them in good health,” Fritz said.

Robin Anderson, the manager at Ionia County Animal Control, said that her department is investigating. She said a veterinarian will be sent in to asses the horses and determine if neglect has taken place.

Right now, these are only accusations against the Colliers. They have not been charged with anything.

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17 comments

  • Scherzerfan

    Well duh, any moron can tell if most animals (dogs, cats hoses and the like) are being adequately fed, watered and sheltered. I'm sure Ms. BaBa Walters knows what she is talkin about and that's why the authorities were called. Gees, I hate animal abuse/neglect stories. And yes, I hate people abuse/neglect stories too.

  • Cheers6

    It seems to me that if you are the owner of horses, and this article states she has two, it is ultimately their responsibility to make sure they are receiving proper care. She didn’t think to check on them, not even once this bitter winter? Did you even know these tenants? Who would trust their pets to complete strangers and NOT check on them? If you did know them, what were you thinking? Disgusting, I hope those horses are all relocated to homes where they will receive the proper care. Shame on the blame game and for all those involved in the mistreatment of these horses.

  • stars

    The owner and tenants should both be charged. WHAT is WRONG with people??? This isn't the first story I've seen recently regarding neglected horses/animals.

  • teamster10

    People who truly love animals would get their butt up and take care of them. Seems everyone involved is culpable in one way or another. Losers

  • Kevin

    Well first all I would like to say that there is a lot behind this story that isn’t being said ironically. Those 20 round bales that were provided were moldy bales. Most people know that you don’t feed moldy hay to animals. I think after 4 days if false accusations by there landlord, this lady should be arrested for harrassment. I know this family personally and they take very good care of the animals. I believe tht when your water freezes and you go down the road to get water for your horses and pale it back home. You are doing your best. (Water pipes freezing was suppose to taken care of by landlord)

  • WHAT

    Please that women has something to gain from her report! That young man had a "bale" of hay, you can't feed horses hay in bales that big in 4 feet of snow!!!! I hope that family can sue her for slander.. That women needs to take off that teenage hair style, and put on a adult attitude! People have ribs show too! It's been a hard winter, and if she really cared -she would be helping them out. Don't throw stones when we can see right through your glass heart!

  • Voice for animals

    I don't believe this is Barb's first run-in with letting someone she didn't know take care of her horse(s), and then finding out they were starving. Hmmmm…a pattern? At least animal control will help them now.

  • takeemaway

    “I just really worry for these horses. I want to get them help,” Walters said.

    "these" horses are your horses too. If you really, truly wanted to "help" and you really 'worried' about them, you would be taking care of them yourself and making doggone sure they were fed and watered during this brutal winter. Glad you all had a good nights rest all winter while your horses were hungry and wondering where their food was. Shame on everyone involved for letting this happen. You do not deserve the responsibility of a horse, and I hope animal control feels the same way.

  • somepeople

    Way to contact Fox to try and cover your a** Barb, as if you are not responsible for your own animals. Good thing you took the time to fix your hair and makeup while your horses needed food and water, even as you stood their and talked with the news crew. Really shows you care.

  • Disgusted

    It is unfortunate the lengths people will go to for money! This greedy landlord is try to evict this family because her "friend" that is "down on her luck" needs a place to stay and offering to pay a substantial amount more than the Colliers! The Colliers are ANIMAL LOVERS!!! for god sake those horses aren't being neglected! They would spend their last dime to make sure their animals are cared for and I've witnessed that first hand! I feel awful that they have to go through this embarrassment!! Animal Control has already been out there and cleared the horses, if something was truly wrong don't you think they would have taken them? Like the comments above, if this lady truly cared about the wellness of her animals why wasn't she helping out her "starved and thirsty" horses. Get real!!! Find something better to do than make this family look bad!! I hope they sue you!

  • Story Update?

    Maybe Fox 17 should investigate the whole story before airing. Shall I propose a follow up story with the whole truth?

  • laura

    Horses are my life. My degree is in equine science. Those horses while are not emaciated.. They are on their way to being super skinny. Ribs should not show. You can tell that they do have muscle atrophy on the topline and thru the rump. Waters should have heaters in them. They are cheap to buy. Owner should have brought one over if tenants didnt do it. But still they are not being fed properly at all. I would evict without a second thought. Highly doubt the owner is trying to get higher rent.. In michigan a landlord is happy just to have tenants pay on time! I know.. I have my house rented I. Michigan but live in texas. I have evicted renters for not taking care of the lawn!

  • Martha

    Equine Science degree or not, the one horse you saw was an old horse, and that is what old horses do, atrophy on the top line. Ribs should not show, but Texas has not experienced the winter we have had here in Michigan. Water heaters are great, but there is a huge electrical bill that goes with using them. There is a lot more to this story than Fox brought to light. Shame on Fox for being more interested in jumping on a publicity band wagon, than considering the slander of reputation to people just trying to finish up a good, hard Michigan winter. I challenge Fox News to finish this story up and when they have , run a story on "The rest of the story"_

  • Jamie

    You can tell by looking at the place from driving by it is run down-the renters look like they either are living beyond their means and cant afford to live there or they are just lazy people. The owner has the right to remove them as renters for whatever reason and not paying rent on time or the full amount is grounds enough. These current renters need to grow up and take responsibility for themselves and their lives and quit looking to blame others for their actions.

  • Claire

    Animal control in Ionia county=worthless. I heard those horses–in the barn, the ones Fox 17 News didn't show–were so hungry, they were eating their own feces! This woman has a history with renting to bad tenants, she's had horses neglected before.

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