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Animal advocacy groups seize 38 miniature horses.

Byline: Lisa Eckelbecker

WEST BOYLSTON - Two animal advocacy groups have taken possession of 38 miniature horses that belonged to veterinarian Dr. Robert J. Tashjian.

All the horses are thin and malnourished because of intestinal parasitic infections, they have skin infections and their hooves are in poor condition, according to a news release from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Nevins Farm and the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Alan Borgal, director of the Animal Rescue League's center for animal protection, said he took possession of four of the horses in late February and another 34 horses Thursday. The Animal Rescue League has custody of 18 of the horses, including 10 currently housed at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton, Mr. Borgal said.

The MSPCA has custody of the remaining 20 horses. Both groups reported they plan to find new homes for the animals.

Mr. Borgal declined to say how the groups became aware of the horses.

Dr. Tashjian long maintained miniature horses on his farm in West Boylston and advocated for research into equine infectious anemia, an incurable infectious disease in horses. At one point, his farm was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a research facility.

Yet he also clashed with state agriculture authorities, who several years ago removed and euthanized a horse named Nora that was allegedly infected with equine infectious anemia. Dr. Tashjian's farm operation filed for bankruptcy and was sold last year.

Dr. Tashjian yesterday said he was aware of the actions by the Animal Rescue League and MSPCA.

"I'm willing to give my side of the story but I can't give it in a three-minute sound bite," he said. "I have an awful lot more to say. I'm willing to meet with a reporter from the T&G as soon as possible to give the details."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 10, 2012
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