Owner of malnourished horse arrested for neglect, deputies say

Booking photo of Randi Solorzano and her horse, Doug - Photos from the Marion County Sheriff's Office

NEAR SALEM, Ore. – An animal rescuer told KATU an emaciated horse was 400 pounds underweight and close to death when he was retrieved by Marion County deputies on Saturday near Salem.

The horse's owner, Randi Solorzano, 46, now faces an animal neglect charge.

The horse, Doug, is considered a draft horse, a group that includes larger, majestic horses like Clydesdales.

Rescuers said Doug is supposed to weigh around 1,100 pounds but he now weighs about 700 pounds and he's fighting for his life.

Solorzano was arrested Saturday on suspicion of Animal Neglect II and released.

A KATU crew contacted her Monday and she declined to comment on the case, which deputies said they've been investigating for three weeks.

At the end of July, a neighbor posted photos and a message in the Facebook group, Free horses in Oregon, saying the 20-year-old horse, Doug, was in bad shape.

"I was just disgusted with how people can let their animals go that far down," said Dave Laudahl, co-founder of the Harmony New Beginnings Animal Rescue in Sheridan, regarding the post. "We became aware of that and we were trying to get law enforcement to act on it. ... It would've been nice to have got him the first day."

Deputies said Solorzano told them in July she knew Doug was having trouble eating. But they said she told them the reason was a dental condition and she was taking him to a veterinarian for treatment.

After checking in on Doug for a few weeks, deputies said they discovered he was missing appointments.

They then arrested Solorzano and took Doug to Harmony New Beginnings.

"He did not seem very happy when he first came here," said Laudahl. "He was pretty angry."

He said they're feeding Doug slowly and in small amounts so as not to overwhelm his vital organs.

"Without good care, he's real close to dyin'," said Laudahl, who remains hopeful. "We've had a few of them like this and we've had good results bringing 'em back, and they’ve been able to adopt out and find good homes and have happy endings.”

Solorzano is due in court on Sept. 12.

Laudahl predicts Doug will get better in six months to a year. He said they're changing his name to Spirit because "he's a fighter."

To help the horse, you can donate money to his recovery effort by clicking here.

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