Woman who adopted starved horse speaks out after accused abuser arrested

Woman who adopted starved horse speaks out after accused abuser arrested

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The day after a woman was arrested, accused of abusing, and neglecting three horses in the northeast valley, the person who adopted one is sharing her story exclusively with 8 News Now. 

“He’s my best friend now,” the horse’s adopter said. 

‘Zeke,’ as he is now called, has been to hell and back, but he is currently living the life he’s always deserved. 

The woman who adopted him two years ago did not want to share her identity but spoke with 8 News Now Friday about how far he’s come since he was saved. 

“Nothing was taken care of,” she explained. “He was still underweight when he came home.”

She said he was one of three horses starved in the northeast valley for months. 

“His hips were sticking out like no other,” she recalled. “He was moving slow, he didn’t want to get up.”

Hermalinda Rocha was arrested on Tuesday, accused of keeping Zeke and two other horses in filthy conditions, with algae-covered water buckets and no food. 

“As far as I know, he was pretty much up to his belly in feces,” his current owner said. ‘And he only had his feces to eat.”

It was a long, difficult road his current family wishes Zeke never had to face, but with their love and dedication, he’s now doing his best to embrace his second chance at happiness. 

“He’s still not over anything, but he is getting there,” his adopter said. “And he is getting better by the day.”

She said the horse is slowly starting to understand he’ll never have to know hunger, fear, or pain ever again. 

“He knows he’s going to be fed,” his owner concluded. “He knows that it’s not going to stop again.”

According to arrest reports, one of the horses rescued with Zeke was later euthanized due to continued health issues. 

Hermalinda Rocha faces three felony charges for willful or malicious torture of a dog, cat, or animal. The alleged crimes were committed from 2018 to 2020. 

Rocha was released from jail on her own recognizance but ordered to not have any contact with animals. She is due back in court on August 9. 



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