CHICHESTER — Five horses were taken to a Chichester rescue farm Friday after Northfield Police investigated reports of poor living conditions in a barn on the property of a well-known Northfield resident.
According to Sgt. Michael Hutchinson, Northfield Police received a complaint that a number of boarded horses on the property were in poor health due to lack of care and subpar living conditions.
A search warrant was obtained and the investigation, which included the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture and examinations by a state veterinarian, substantiated the claims. Four horses were removed from the property and taken to Live and Let Live Farm in Northfield for care and boarding. A fifth horse was taken from another property, said Hutchinson.
The horses were found on the 85 Zion Hill Road farm of 90-year-old Bert Southwick, known locally as “The Egg Man” due to his 75 years of delivering eggs to residents in Northfield and Tilton by horse-drawn cart.
Hutchinson indicated charges were unlikely against Southwick, who has been in and out of hospital care the last few years.
“He has a caretaker helping him out at the farm, but that person is having a hard time keeping up while trying to tend to all those responsibilities and working 40 hours a week,” said Hutchinson. “It appears people have been boarding these horses (at Southwick’s farm) and have just abandoned them there and have put a huge burden on the caretaker.”
Many of the 12 horses on the property appear to have been there for many years without proper care. The horses that were left at Southwick’s farm have been evaluated and are able to remain because they’re not currently boarded in the barn. Their current living conditions align with the state’s pasture laws, said Hutchinson.
“We’ll certainly follow up, but today they were evaluated and looked fine and appeared to be eating well,” he said.
Though no one has been charged, Hutchinson said the investigation is ongoing.