MANY, LA (KSLA) - Charles Ford, the man accused on animal cruelty in a high profile Sabine Parish horse case, spoke out for the first time Wednesday. He says he is actually an animal lover who got in over his head trying to care for too many animals.
Last week a Sabine Parish judge ordered dozens of horses living in poor conditions without enough food be taken away from the property owner. This weekend the Sabine Humane Society and horse rescue volunteers took them away, and say they found several dead animals on the property.
"Horses die and cows die, but not from the causes that these horses die," said Larry Kelly with the Humane Society.
Ford now faces animal cruelty charges, but he says this is not a case of neglect or malice. It's a case of a bad economy.
"The work wasn't there so I couldn't buy the amount of feed that I needed to buy, but I fed them some every day," said Ford.
He claims for the first 3 years he did take good care of the horses, but with less jobs to work building boat houses he couldn't afford to care for them.
"I spent everything I had that I could borrow, rake, and scrape into feeding those horses. I gave away as many as I could give away," said Ford.
He claims he asked for help from the Humane Society and other groups, but didn't receive much assistance until they took the horses away, along with the rest of his animals. They did let him keep one dog, who he says has kept him company during this difficult week.
Now, Ford worries about how he will pay his legal bills because he's already in debt.
"I owe Family Farm and Garden $16-18,000 for feed," he said.
Ford also owes several thousand dollars in vet bills. A debt he says proves that he did care, even if he couldn't always take care of his animals.