Police seize horse from owner in Touisset

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A South Dartmouth veterinarian is nursing Johnny, a four-year-old thoroughbred horse, back to health after it was found undernourished, and with other medical conditions, at a Touisset farm late last Wednesday.

Police said Johnny is owned by Federal Street resident Francisco A. Pereira and was being kept at a private resident's Barton Road property. Someone recently called the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to report that it appeared undernourished, but RISPCA agent Joe Warzycha, who came out about a week and a half ago, determined that though Johnny was on the thinner side, it was not too bad.

That changed Wednesday, July 31, after Warren Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity heard about the horse and drove out to Barton to have a look. When she arrived, she noted in her report that Johnny's ribs and other bones were visible. The horse's font right ankle was also swollen, and the hooves appeared to need trimming. She also noted that it had a clubfoot, its teeth needed work and it was not vaccinated.

As she inspected the horse, Mr. Pereira arrived and acknowledged that the horse was on the thinner side, but that that is common for thoroughbreds. He also told her he hoped to find Johnny a new home, as he no longer wanted it.

Officer Garrity called South Dartmouth veterinarian Dr. Corrine Slaughter, who arrived later that day. Police made the decision to seize the horse from Mr. Pereira, Deputy Warren Police Chief Joseph Loiselle said, "after it was reported MR. Pereira would not cooperate" and meet further with Officer Garrity, Dr. Slaughter or Mr. Warzycha from the RISPCA.

As of Monday, the horse had received some treatment and was responding well, police said. No charges have been filed agains Mr. Pereira, but the investigation continues, Deputy Chief Loiselle said.

Officer Garrity said Monday that no permanent arrangements have yet been made to find a home for Johnny.

Warren RI

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.