DELCO -- About eight months ago a family in the Delco area had eight horses taken away after animal cruelty investigators say they found evidence of neglect and abuse. Monday the family got the horses back, but not without some concern from those who helped re-nourish the animals. The horses were taken away because investigators say they were severely underweight and now they're being returned to their owners because of a paperwork snafu. Donna Ryan fostered three of the horses. She says when the horses came to her they were malnourished, had worms and their hooves were damaged. The horses are being returned to their original owners because of a paperwork error at the courthouse in Columbus County. The court says the horses must be returned because of an improper search warrant. The owner of the horses did not want to go on camera but says the animals were sick, which explained their low weight. Animal cruelty investigator Lisa Hartman isn't happy with the decision. Hartman said, "Sick. It's been almost eight months, a lot of time, money and labor of love to only have them returned to the same situation." Hartman added she'll continue to check on these animals in the future. Hartman is working with NC State Animal Cruelty officials to make sure clerical errors like this don't happen again in other cases.
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