HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The owner of three horses found to be emaciated and extremely malnourished on a Tri-Cities area farm is now sharing his side of the story.

Ershell Goble told News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant he owned the three horses that were discovered by the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department and turned over to a humane society.

Goble told Kristen he fed the horses three times a day and that he would never hurt his animals.

“I was just going to keep them in that barn for a while and make sure they were fed and watered. I’d go out there sometimes and get them out. I know I didn’t do nothing wrong like that- starving the animal. Anytime they had a problem I always called the vet and got him out,” said Goble. 

Goble said that the reason his horses weren’t able to graze is that his fence was broken, and he couldn’t get help to fix it.

“The storms that we’ve had and the rains have rotted my fence out,” Goble said.

He has since been issued a citation for four counts of animal cruelty. The three horses found malnourished are now being cared for by Hooves & Feathers Farm Animal Humane Society in East Tennessee.

Stephanie Solomon, the executive director of Hooves and Feathers, said when the three horses came in, they were in bad shape.

“There was four horses, one was already deceased. UT gave them a body score of 1 each. The body score scale is one to nine, five being healthy and one being thoroughly emaciated,” Solomon said.

The Humane Society renamed the three horses Faith, Hope, and Love.

Solomon said, “It was a really bad situation and sometimes I think these animals in really bad situations can really benefit from positive names.”

Solomon said that the horses’ recovery process could last five months or more, 

“They started the re-feeding process which is really slow. You start with grass hay only. It’s going to be a long process,” Solomon said. “It’s going to take a long time to recover from a body score of 1. We won’t start the concentrated feed until Friday, and they’ll just start out with a handful, and we’ll slowly increase over time until what is a normal ration for a full-size horse.”

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