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GALLATIN COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - Thirteen of more than 90 emaciated horses seized from a southern Indiana man's farm are recuperating at a Gallatin County horse rescue operation.
The owner admits he raised horses for human consumption overseas.
Jeff Hayes, 51, is charged with animal cruelty for not providing adequate food or water for 4 to 5 days, according to the sheriff in Jefferson County, Indiana.
"My horses are not starving. It's just some people have a personal vendetta against me and they're trying to put me out of business. Eventually, the meat goes overseas for people to eat," Hayes told WAVE 3 News earlier this week.
Hayes claimed he purchased several horses in poor condition and planned to "put some weight on them so they're back to normal."
Thirteen of Hayes' horses are being cared for at Spirit Keeper Equine Rescue in Gallatin County. Robin Coots is nurturing the skeletal herd back to life.
"Whether he neglected the horses or whether he bought them that way - it's where they are now that's important," Coots said.
Jefferson County, Indiana Sheriff John Wallace said most of the horses were starving when officers confiscated the animals.
"They're in bad shape and we're charging him with not providing adequate feed or water for at least 4 to 5 days," Sheriff Wallace said.
Hayes said he plans to challenge the animal cruelty charges. In an unrelated case, deputies arrested Hayes again January 6 for check deception and check fraud.
Surviving horses have been taken to foster farms throughout Southern Indiana and Kentucky. One horse died since authorities seized the animals.