Skip to main content

Expert: Untrimmed hooves can be fatal to horses

June 11, 2019 08:52 am

DURHAM — Untrimmed hooves such as those of two horses found in Durham can be painful to the animals and can lead to permanent injury and death, the president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society said Monday.

A Greene County man charged by state Department of Environmental Conservation officers with two counts of animal neglect was identified June 6 by DEC police as 69-year-old Robert D. Rosenberg of Durham.

He was arrested May 22 and charged with two counts of failing to provide sustenance to two of the four horses he owns, a class A misdemeanor, DEC police said June 6.

The two horses had extremely long hooves, about 10 inches in length, and one of the horses was unable to stand, DEC police said.

Investigators assisting the DEC estimate that the horses have not been seen by a farrier, a specialist who trims and shoes horses’ hooves, in two years, DEC police said.

Greg Davis, of Greenville, has been a farrier for 40 years.

“Horses [hooves] should be trimmed a minimum of four times a year,” he said. “Six or seven times is better.”

Complications can arise if horses’ feet are not maintained, Davis said.

“Dead hoof tends to get bacterial and fungal infections,” he said. “Pieces of hoof can also break off and expose sensitive tissue. You can run into a lot of problems if they’re not regularly done.”

Environmental Conservation Officer Anthony Glorioso responded on May 20 to a location in the town of Durham after receiving a tip that horses were being neglected and reported finding two of the four horses in distress, DEC police said.

Two days later, Glorioso returned to the location with investigators from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who agreed that the conditions of the two horses were unacceptable and warranted criminal charges, DEC police said.

Columbia-Greene Humane Society President Ron Perez, who said the SPCA assisted on the case, commended DEC for its quick action in following up on the tip.

“It was a really good catch by DEC,” he said. “If a horse’s feet are not trimmed, they get sore and can get infected and the horse goes down. If the horse goes down permanently, they die.”

Horses can also be left permanently disabled or with chronic health problems such as laminitis, also known as founder, Perez said.

Laminitis causes the tissue that holds a horse’s coffin bone, similar to a human toe, in place to become inflamed. In the most severe cases, the tissue degenerates to the point that the bone can protrude through the sole of the hoof, according to

The Durham man is scheduled to appear in court June 17 at 3:30 p.m.

Rosenberg is listed as the owner of Carriage House Bed & Breakfast/Carriage House Horse Farm, according to Greene County property records.