During the Olajos’ civil appearance, their attorney said they were “cash-strapped” and unable to properly care for the animals. He added their emotional attachment to the animals prevented them from selling or otherwise dispersing them.
Villa Vanners’ owner June Villa says she is glad the horses are now safe. “Loving something means caring for it. You cannot love something and watch it slowly starve. It is an insult to use that word. It is greed and selfishness plain and simple.”
The state’s investigation surrounding the Olajos began in September 2015 after the couple allegedly returned Villa’s Hall of Fame stallion Romeo emaciated. Villas’ mares and a foal, which were also being leased by the Olajos, were left in poor condition, according to veterinary records.
Villa adds, “unfortunately her selfishness caused the death of my beautiful little palomino colt and nothing can bring him back, I just hate to think of what he went through in his short life due to her greed and selfishness [sic].”
The palomino colt named Illuminator died in early January during the state’s animal cruelty investigation. The state said a month later that its goal was to work with the Olajos on-site to rehabilitate the animals.
Court documents state Thomas Olajos did not follow the veterinarian’s orders during the investigation. Investigators allege the Olajos failed to provide food, water, veterinary care and shelter to the animals.
The horses, consisting of Friesians, Andalusians, and Gypsy Vanners, are being cared for at the department’s large animal rehabilitation facility. The small animals are at various shelters.
The agency says it will now determine the next steps to find qualified homes for the animals.