Shocking pictures have revealed a horse with hooves so overgrown it can no longer stand and dozens of cats and dogs surrounded by faeces and the unidentifiable rotting remains of fellow pets at a rundown French mansion.
A decomposing horse tangled in an electric fence and emaciated cows were also found at the property in Saint-Hernin, Brittany, north-west France, by rescuers who said it was ‘one of the worst situations we could ever have imagined’.
The property’s owner had recently died and her daughter, who is understood to have suffered from mental health issues, was taken to hospital in the last few weeks.
All the animals are pure breeds and the owners are thought to have been collectors. They recently spent €1,200 (£1,032) buying a pedigree puppy.
A horse with hooves that were so overgrown that it could no longer stand pictured at the rundown farm in Saint-Hernin, Brittany, north-west France
Inside the house rescuers from The Green Valley Brittany found piles of rotting rubbish
Among the objects they also found ten dogs and four cats which were terrified of people
Unidentifiable rotting remains were also found inside the house. Footage from the farm showed what appeared to be bones sticking out of piles of matted fur
Horrifying images show the dilapidated house littered with rubbish, rotting remains and dirt. In most rooms the rubbish had piled up so high that the floor was no longer visible.
Footage of them investigating the house shows piles of what appear to be bones surrounded by matted hair in the corner of rooms. Rescuers found ten sad-looking dogs and four cats in among the rubbish.
They also discovered emaciated animals in the faeces-ridden barn and horses, donkeys and six Shetland ponies, with overgrown hooves in a field.
The Green Valley Brittany rescue group entered the farm last week after it obtained authorisation to intervene order from authorities and evacuate the animals following a tip-off from the town’s mayor.
‘One horse had hooves so overgrown that if we hadn’t come that day, we have no doubt that he would have been dead by the morning,’ they said.
‘We have never seen a horse with such overgrown hooves before and he’d endured so much suffering and probably been down on the ground in horrendous stormy weather for some time.
A terrified dog inside the house (left) and rubbish (right). The property’s owner is understood to have recently died and her daughter was taken to hospital with mental illness in the last few weeks
Used plastic bottles, abandoned pots and rotting packets pictured inside the kitchen
Washing machines surrounded by rotting and dirty laundry pictured in the utility room
‘The horror continued inside where we found ten dogs and four cats living in a house with stuff lying around everywhere covered in vomit, faces and dead unidentifiable animals.
‘Unbelievable that only one week before two people had also been living in this place.
‘The animals in the house were visibly traumatised and really fearful. Incredibly, after a little while, they all came for cuddles and a moment of comforting.’
President of the rescue group, Laura Kling, said that she was told by neighbours that several people had been aware of the farms condition but no one had taken any action.
The horses had their hooves trimmed at the farm before being moved, and medical treatment was given to all animals in urgent need before they were taken to new homes.
‘All animals have arrived safely at their foster families where they will receive further treatments until they will be able to be re-homed,’ she said.
‘The women were fairly wealthy and had spent thousands on buying the animals over the years. Some of the cats and dogs are even recognised by the breeding society.’
A horse with overgrown hooves. Another horse was found dead nearby after it got tangled in an electric fence. It couldn’t stand due to its overgrown hooves
All the animals on the farm were pure breeds and the former owners are thought to have been collecting them. Pictured above is a pony with overgrown hooves
Painful overgrown hooves on a pony photographed by rescuers The Green Valley Brittany
Ms Kling wrote that although they had managed to rescue so many animals she felt as ‘if we have failed (the dead horse) but our hands were tied and we did all we could’.
‘We arrived just a few hours too late for one of the horses. He got himself tangled in an electric fence and was unable to free himself due to him being unstable on his feet. The lack of care over the last few years had caused his condition to go down and he urgently needed further treatments.
‘It makes me so angry that authorities saw him only two months ago and did nothing! Let alone the other people who saw him over the last years. Why did nobody step in?’
Animals rescued from the farm included ten dogs, four cats, two donkeys, six Shetland ponies, one Welsh pony, three horses, two geese, 18 chickens, eight pigeons, six sheep and three Anglo-Nubian goats.
French Association Stephane Lamart helped with the evacuation.