PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - A few months ago, "Jitterbug" the horse was 500 pounds underweight, with hooves breaking off, mane overgrown, with his upper teeth worn down to nothing.
Ronelle Moore of Charlotte County Animal Control says "Jitterbug" was rescued after an anonymous tip led them to John Roth's house in Punta Gorda. "His feet were so severe at that point, we were concerned as far as his survival based on his feet alone," Moore said.
Roth admitted, he didn't have the money to care for "Jitterbug" and couldn't remember the last time he or his other two horses had seen a vet. He said their only source of water was a pond. "Jitterbug" was taken away and Roth was given an order to provide care for his other animals. He was also arrested and charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
"It still bothers me when I see these situations," Moore said. "We have to do all we can to channel our emotions in the right direction when we see these things because it rips our heart out every time we see these happen."
After some much-needed care, "Jitterbug" is now a horse rescue facility where he'll spend the rest of his life. While he still has more weight to gain, Moore says he's back to "horseing around."
Animal Control will periodically check on Roth's other animals. However, based on what happens with his charges, he could ultimately lose custody.