Sacramento County monitoring health of horses on Rio Linda property

Sacramento County Animal Care officers are monitoring a herd of horses in Rio Linda after the needs of the animals were brought to the attention of animal control officers this month.

Two horses died on the property, according to a county spokesman. The horses’ owner, Lynn Countryman, was issued a citation Tuesday requiring veterinary care for seven horses with wounds and some lameness. She also has been working with animal control to reduce the number of horses from 40 to 20 on the property in the 1600 block of E Street.

Countryman has reduced the herd to 30 after working two weeks with animal control. She also was cited for having too many dogs, said Eileen Matson, supervising animal control officer.

“She gets them and they look pretty bad and then she starts to bring them back to a reasonable health,” Matson said of the horses, which she described as being in marginal shape. “But lately, she had gotten in over her head.”

Matson said Countryman has cooperated with animal control officers and has spoken with county animal control Director Dave Dickinson.

“He has agreed to give her some time to get the number of horses down to a manageable number, which is about 20,” said Matson. “We are visiting her every day. We went out and cataloged every horse on the property, along with other livestock.”

The dogs, goats and a cow on the property were not in bad shape, Matson said.

Countryman acknowledged Tuesday that she has too many horses, but said she is rectifying the problem.

“I get horses and sell horses,” said Countryman. “The horses are doing great. They are being fed and taken care of every day. I am having a vet come out and assess every horse on my property.”

Matson said Countryman is providing adequate food.

Feed has more than doubled in price from a year ago, now costing around $19 a bale, Matson said. And some horse owners are finding they can no longer afford their steeds. Animal control recently took into county care a horse found near Bradshaw and Gerber roads.

“We have four right now for that reason,” Matson said. “They just get dumped down a road somewhere. We picked up one Monday that is very skinny.”