Esparto Neighbors Horrified by Man’s Alleged Treatment of Horses

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A Bay Area man is charged with felony animal cruelty after leaving several animals to die at his property in Esparto.

On July 3, neighbor Lori Ronchetto found a Bay horse lying dead on a seemingly abandoned property on County Road 86. She said she also found a dead chicken, and many other caged animals without food or water.

“On my way home, the Bay horse was on the fence line and I thought that looked so odd, and I’m mad at myself because I didn’t stop, because it’s posted ‘No trespassing.'” Ronchetto said. “But the next morning when I came over and saw the Bay horse was clearly dead.”

“When we arrived, you could see cob webs and dust, and so it’s been some time since they had water,” Michael Nevis of the Yolo County Animal Services said. “They were actually digging trying to stay cool.”

Ronchetto and other neighbors said they were suspicious of the property for a few years. She said she had called Yolo County Animal Services several times in the past to report endangered animals. But said it was not until the horse died that they really acted.

“Last winter, I called because the horses didn’t have any feed,” neighbor Lori Ronchetto said. “So I don’t understand why our Animal Control wasn’t really a little more proactive with the phone calls I had made prior to this. This is sad. This didn’t have to happen.”

Nevis said they had come to the property in the past, to take care of goats running into the streets.

Another horse was reportedly barely hanging onto life when it was transferred to UC Davis veterinary hospital.

“We were told by UC Davis staff this is one of the worst cases of dehydration they had ever seen where an animal actually survived,” Nevis said. “It was touch and go for him, in the beginning. Within a couple of hours, he probably would have been dead if we didn’t take charge of the situation.”

UC Davis veterinarians told Animal Services Officers the surviving horse’s Selenium levels were extremely high, and it also had neurological damage.

Property owner Conception Vasquez, of Pittsburg, was arrested on July 3rd on Felony Animal Cruelty charges. He was supposed to be arraigned today, but the Yolo County District Attorney declined to file, because Vasquez was put on an Immigration hold with no bail.

Ronchetto said the whole situation was upsetting.

“There’s 100 ways to get rid of an animal,” Ronchetto said. “You can do adoption, you can find a home for it yourself, and frankly, you can euthenize them and it’s a kinder way to go than to be left in a hot field where it is over 100 degrees without water.”

Fox 40 was told the horse that survived is scheduled to be adopted by a longtime supporter of the UC Davis Veterinary School after it makes a full recovery.

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