By Elizabeth Cook

DALY CITY (KPIX 5) — KPIX 5 has learned there are questions about how horses at a coastside stable are being treated. The owner tells us everything is fine. But two Bay Area women say they have pictures to prove him wrong. What’s the real story? We went undercover to see for ourselves.

It’s a sight most customers don’t see: behind the scenes at the Mar Vista Stable in Daly City. The stable offers horseback rides to the beach and a summer camp for kids.

Despite appearances, Liz Barnes and her friend Alice Anderson — who both worked with boarded horses at the stables — describe a darker picture of what they say is horse neglect and abuse. “They are being used to the point that they are lame, sick, even dying,” said Alice Anderson. “Somebody needed to do something,” said Liz Barnes.

So they took pictures of what they say are filthy stalls, moldy hay, overgrown hooves and they videotaped skinny horses, limping horses, even a dying horse they say never got veterinary treatment. “They were working them to death,” said Liz.

Stable owner Zach Landry wouldn’t let us in for a visit.

“It’s just a bunch of horse crap is what this is,” he told us.

He admits his barns may be in need of a remodel: “Well it’s an old ranch you know,” he said. He says he treats his horses well. “To me the ribs, it’s a sign of thinness, but its not a sign that it’s dying,” he said.

After complaining to the Peninsula Humane Society for months with no results, the two women compiled this binder of evidence and delivered it in person. But, to their surprise, it hasn’t been a slam dunk.

“This is an ongoing investigation so I am really not going to be able to give you specifics about it,” said Peninsula Humane Society director Ken White. He told us state law protects horses for hire, but even if violations are found “there is sort of a fixit opportunity. It is fix the conditions of the animal and the crime, if you will, goes away,” he said.

So have things been fixed at Mar Vista? We paid an undercover visit and noticed an apparent state code violation right away. Horses were standing waiting with saddles not loosened and no shelter.

“It is required that they be provided with shelter from the elements,” said Alice Anderson.

One horse we saw was so tightly tied to the fence he couldn’t fully lie down to rest. “It’s just awful, disgraceful, disgusting and sad,” said Liz Barnes.

An investigator with the Peninsula Humane Society did conduct an inspection of the stables, but called before coming. The agency says that is routine procedure, but Liz and Alice feel it just allows the stable’s owner to hide any potential problems.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)


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