Man charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty after horses were found starved, severely neglected

Horses, desperate for food, chewed through wooden posts, sheriff says

Steven David Olsen, 62, is charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty.
Steven David Olsen, 62, is charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. (KSAT)

VON ORMY, Texas – Bexar County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man on Wednesday weeks after they found eight severely starved and neglected horses at his Von Ormy home.

Steven David Olsen, 62, stayed silent as he was taken into custody, offering no explanation for why the horses were in such poor condition. Olsen was charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty after investigators discovered two of the horses were pregnant.

Deputies served search and seizure warrants on Aug. 13 at a home in the 16300 block of Benton City Road after receiving reports of the malnourished Arabian horses from neighbors and Animal Control.

The horses range in age between three and five years old, and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said when deputies arrived, it was obvious they had been malnourished.

Deputies found no water for the horses at the property and very little food.

“In fact, some of the wooden poles that were holding up the fence in their enclosure had been chewed through where these horses, just kind of in desperation, were trying to get some sort of nutrients into their body,” Salazar said.

The horses were taken to Meadow Haven Horse Rescue, where their condition is improving, Salazar said.

The horses are likely worth thousands of dollars, the sheriff said.

“The condition that we saw them treated like was just heartbreaking,” Salazar said.

Salazar said Olsen told investigators that it was difficult for him to feed and care for the horses.

“If it’s that difficult, get rid of them. Give them away or sell them to somebody who can take care of them,” Salazar said. “To me, that was just not a valid excuse.”

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About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.