Horses recover nicely

The last two of seven animal-cruelty charges against Dwight McCloud were dropped Thursday after two underweight horses in his care were reported to be thriving.

Underweight horses that were living in a manure-filled pen with dirty water and little food in February are now thriving, according to a Berkeley County Animal Control officer.

As a result, the last two of seven animal-cruelty charges against Dwight N. Benjamin McCloud, of 1181 Old Dairy Road in Summerville, were dropped during a hearing Thursday in Berkeley County Magistrate’s Court.

McCloud, who gave up his right to a public defender, pleaded guilty April 5 to five other charges of animal mistreatment and that day paid $5,462.50, the maximum allowable fine, said Chief Magistrate Ava Bryant Ayers.

Two other charges were continued for two weeks to allow McCloud to comply with some conditions.

Animal Control Officer Michele Collins said she visited the horses Monday and found the situation improved.

“The horses are in nice shape,” Collins said. “The farrier has visited and the whole pasture was clean. Their water was fresh and they had grain. Mr. McCloud has complied with every aspect of the conditions.”

Animal Control will continue to monitor the horses for six months, and the horses are scheduled to be seen by the farrier again on June 14.

“If there are subsequent violations, we could be back in court,” said Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Smith Cannon.

McCloud was charged March 5 with three counts of failure to provide care or treatment for a diseased or injured animal, three counts of failure to provide humane treatment to animals and one count of failure to provide adequate food and water.

He voluntarily gave up two severely malnourished horses to LEARN horse rescue on March 2. One of the horses, a 3-year-old stallion now called Whisper, also had a large burn on his back that authorities said was from McCloud’s attempts to treat a case of fungus called rainrot.

Those horses will be adopted by country singer Willie Nelson when they are well enough to be moved from the Meggett farm where they are being kept, which LEARN founder Elizabeth Steed said will likely be in June.

“Whisper has gained 60 pounds and Traveler, 80 pounds, in under seven weeks,” Steed said Thursday. She said Whisper’s burn is “95 percent healed.”