Facebook campaign prompts owner to give up 24 horses

NEAR CENTRALIA, Wash. -- Horse lovers took to Facebook, demanding something be done.

As a result, 24 horses were taken from a farm east of Centralia after one was found dead by the side of the road.

Some of the seized animals were in poor shape, mainly due to malnutrition. But all now are being fed and cared for, and will soon be up for adoption.

The animals were found living in muddy conditions in shelters ready to fall down. Horse lovers who passed by the property saw the malnourished animals. And when they saw the dead horse on the side of the road, they took to Facebook where word spread quickly and a campaign began.

"My first thing was to think, 'If it's a dead horse there and a bunch of horses that are not being fed well, why do they still have the horses?'" said Amanda Sanders, a horse lover.

The owner of the horses, Gerald Specht, says he didn't mean for anything to go wrong.

"They were always fed. They were fed daily. (I had) just too many of them, I guess," he said.

While the sheriff was investigating accusations of animal cruelty, the Washington State Livestock Coalition came along. It took some convincing, but the volunteer group said Specht agreed to hand over the horses.

"(We) kind of did a little counseling with them, talked them into doing the right thing. And I think everybody is going to be a lot better off for it," said Daniel Venable of the {A href="" target="_blank"}Washington State Livestock Coalition.

Specht and his wife have been through tough times. Their house burned down, and they are now living in a tent.

Vic Mott with the coalition said the Spechts' situation has a lot to do with their "age, and a lack of enthusiasm to keeping the place

"And we just don't want to see them go any further and get into any more trouble then they're in," Mott said.

The coalition also took 30 goats.

It was not clear whether the animal cruelty investigation is ongoing.