VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian veterinarians and animal activists fought Friday to save the lives of 122 horses found without adequate food or shelter on a farm near Vilnius, the nation's capital.
Rescue workers used hay to warm the starving, shivering horses and tried to get them to eat. Five horses died before they could be transported to a treatment facility, said volunteer Ruta Matukonyte.
"It is shocking — the poor creatures cannot stand on their feet. They are just starved to death. It is obvious that more than 30 of these horses will not survive," she said.
The 122 horses were kept on farmer Algis Kausakis' property through the long winter without enough food, water or shelter, according to authorities. Kausakis had come under official scrutiny for not taking proper care of the animals and was fined several times for animal cruelty.
Kausakis was not present during Friday's rescue operation.
The farmer told a Vilnius court last week that the horses were a tough northern breed that could take care of themselves and didn't need shelter, local media reported.