PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wis. — Nearly two dozen horses that were kept in deplorable conditions on a Kenosha County farm have been nursed back to health and are ready for adoption.

The horses and other animals can be adopted starting Wednesday, the Kenosha News reported ( ).

The animals were taken from a Pleasant Prairie farm whose owners have pleaded not guilty to animal mistreatment. Prosecutors say the carcasses of 55 horses, 12 goats and two cows were found on their farm.

The surviving animals were on the verge of starvation, and some were found standing in several feet of feces. Others had scars from harnesses or saddles left on too long.

More than a dozen volunteers have helped nurse the animals back to health. The efforts were led by Robert Melby, who owns the Clawz and Pawz animal-care facility, and Erika Dierks, owner of Stonehedge Farm.

"They're doing great, actually," Dierks said of the animals. "They're ready to go to some nice homes."

The adoptions are being managed through the village of Pleasant Prairie. The animals include 23 horses, 20 ducks, seven sheep, a bull and a peacock.

Dierks and Melby said they don't know all the details about the animals, such as ages, training histories and so on.

"Expect nothing," Melby tells potential new owners. "Expect the worst and hope for the best."

Owning a horse is a lot of work and a large financial commitment, Melby said. People interested in adopting horses will need to fill out paperwork and go through a background check that includes a barn visit.

"People need to be responsible and don't let the heart get in the way of the head," he said.



Village of Pleasant Prairie animal-adoption form:

Clawz and Pawz: