The Thoroughbred gelding days prior to his death.
A South Carolina farrier pleaded not guilty in connection with the death of a thoroughbred gelding.
Keith Rabon entered the plea through his attorney this week. He was charged in January with misdemeanor treatment and care of animals. The arrest affidavit states Rabon “did not properly care for or provide adequate food and care for a 14 year old horse.”
The gelding left Rabon’s farm in emaciated condition, according to our sources, on December 27, 2013. His new owner, Trish Sylvester, told Rate My Horse PRO she was going to nurse the ailing former racehorse back to health, but he was dead within three days.
The necropsy states the horse’s “death and condition preceding death was caused by at least two months of severe malnutrition, and that this care did extend up to the time frame immediately preceding his purchase by Trish Sylvester.”
The necropsy report states Major died from major organ failure due to either chronic malnutrition or the complications of refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome refers to the complications that come with re-providing proper nutrition to a chronically starved horse. Sylvester’s veterinarian had the horse on a special feeding plan, but according to the report, the gelding had an impaction of oats prior to his death. “I feel that in an attempt to make it appear that he had been fed, his impaction was caused and the deadly consequences of refeeding syndrome were initiated.”
The horse also suffered from lesions in his mouth and skin issues, including severe rain rot. The vet was unable to determine the cause of large patches of missing hair on his right side that “resemble chemical burns.”
This isn’t the first time Rabon has been accused of horse abuse. He is on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) suspension list for violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA.) The HPA is a Federal law that prohibits the practice of soring horses and their participation in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. Rabon is currently serving a three-year suspension that expires in late 2014 for his violations.
Rabon has requested a jury trial in this case. If he is found guilty he could face a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and/or just over a $1,000 fine.