Published Monday, 28 November 2011
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They were discovered living amongst the carcasses of nine dead animals by a vet at the site on Lisnevenagh Road last Tuesday.
Four of the 63 were found to be in such a bad state that they had to be humanely put down after being removed by police officers.
Thirty-three have been taken to the Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary and the Donkey Sanctuary and arrangements are being made to house the others.
"When police arrived at Lisnevenagh Road we were met with a truly heartbreaking scene," said Investigating officer Sgt Alison Liddle.
"These animals were effectively starving to death in the most dire of conditions - there was no clean bedding, no water and nowhere for them to move around.
"Live animals were being forced to live next to the rotting carcasses of other dead animals. No animal should be made to endure such horrendous cruelty."
Nicholas De Brauwere, Head of Welfare at Red Wings and Chairman of the National Equine Council, described the conditions as some of the worst he has seen.
"The conditions I witnessed in Antrim were as bad as anything I have seen in 20 years working in horse welfare," he said.
"It was imperative that action was taken to protect the horses, ponies and donkeys from further suffering.
"Crosskennan and the Donkey Sanctuary have now provided this safe haven and we are all extremely grateful to them. In this tough time of limited resources it was really quite humbling to see this kind of dedication to animal welfare."
Sgt Liddle said police are determined to catch those responsible.
"Every officer who attended has been affected by what they saw," she said.
"This has made us determined to pursue the persons responsible and make sure they are found amenable for their despicable cruelty in a court of law."
Anyone with information has been asked to come forward.