Jackson County Abused Horses Update

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

It’s been a little more than two weeks since 26 horses were taken from a Jackson County man, after he was allegedly starving them to death.

Thursday, he made his first court appearance trying to regain custody of the horses.

Residents who have been caring for the animals are crossing their fingers he won't.

Heart wrenching pictures of Ma-Da-Ha, one of many horses taken from 55-year-old Tom James, revealed shocking images, after he allegedly starved them to death.

Three weeks later, and 100 pounds heavier and with a coat beginning to shine, Ma-Da-Ha is recovering.

"If someone didn't see her at the beginning, they would say wow, that horse looks terrible, but compared to the way she was when we first got her she's doing absolutely terrific," says Melanie Higdon.

Higdon lives just a few miles from James’ farm and has taken in more than a dozen horses.

She says she's received a lot of help from the community to take care of the animals.

“We have a gentleman in Dothan whose mom passed away about three or four weeks ago and when she heard about the horses, he said his mom was a real horse lover and she would want him to help out. So, he bought us some bags of oats to give the horses and that was in memory of his mom," Higdon said.

Higdon says half of the horses have been adopted out to homes while the legalities continue with James.

Thursday was his first court appearance. He was trying to regain custody of his horses.

"It looks good for the horses; it looks like their going to be able to be placed with their foster parents’ permanently,” Higdon added. “So, I think that's the best for everyone concerned."

James will have another court appearance next Thursday to determine whether he is able to regain custody of his horses.


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