A Valley feed company has agreed to pay $2.4 million dollars for killing or injuring 49 horses at a Clovis horse ranch. Western Milling sold the poisonous feed back in 2015 and has been investigated by the Food and Drug Administration before for multiple violations.
At Western Milling's manufacturing plant in Goshen, significant changes have been made. Families say it took the loss of too many animals for this to happen.
"Some of these kids were there at the stables watching their horses die in front of their eyes," said Warren Paboojian who represented the plaintiffs. "It was a very emotional event for all of my clients."
Paboojian says Western Milling manufactured and distributed horse feed tainted with monensin in September of 2015. While the chemical is beneficial for cattle, it is highly toxic to horses.
"If they would have followed the FDA and State of California's recommendations, we wouldn't be here today and my clients wouldn't have lost their horses,"
Katie Flanigan owns Black Fence Farms, where the feed killed 20 horses and severely injured 29 others. She's refused to put down the survivors.
She sent us this statement, reading in part, "the law does not allow for any compensation for continuing care, medical or otherwise, but rather tells us we have an obligation to "mitigate" our damages...Something I am unwilling to accept."
See Flanigan's full statement here.
The plaintiffs say the $2.4 million dollar settlement shows the plant admitting to its guilt, but they have never received an official apology.
"This case goes beyond negligence in my opinion that's why we sued them for fraud, malice, and punitive damages."
Before this settlement, Western Milling also had to pay out a fine to the state, agreeing to implement new equipment at the Goshen facility to ensure better safety.