Cloverdale man arrested on suspicion of animal abuse after dead, emaciated horses found

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Cloverdale man arrested after dead, emaciated horses found

CLOVERDALE, Calif. (KGO) -- A sheriff's deputy arrested a Cloverdale man on suspicion of animal abuse after finding a dead horse and several emaciated horses on the man's property, sheriff's officials said.

Chomp, chomp, chomp.

She loves the hay...a horse with no name other than Ethyl, all chapped, wasted skin and protruding bones. The sight of her warms and hurts Heather Bailey of Healdsburg to the core.

"How would you feel if you were starving? Her body is eating itself so she feels pretty lousy as anyone would."

Ethyl is one of twelve horses the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department seized, last week, in what it describes as the worst case of felony animal abuse in recent memory. They arrested 65-year-old Joseph Rafael of Cloverdale on the spot. Deputies found one other horse lying dead in the mud.

"It breaks your heart," said Heather. "There are so many places this animal could have been helped before it died in the mud."

Heather's animal rescue group, The Change Program, has divided the twelve horses among six volunteers. They hope to restore the animals to health and eventually, find them new homes pending a guilty verdict.

Joseph Rafael was not available for comment, today. He posted $10,000 bail.

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