Video: Show horses poisoned in California

updated 8/1/2009 1:26:17 PM ET 2009-08-01T17:26:17

Twenty-three San Diego show horses were poisoned by someone who fed them highly toxic oleander leaves, a San Diego ranch owner has said.

Debbie Tomin, owner of Rockridge Farm in Rancho Santa Fe, said three horses were seriously ill and undergoing treatment at an equine hospital, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.

The other horses, including two pregnant mares, were being treated at the ranch.

Workers discovered the sick American Saddlebred horses Thursday morning and a feed mix of sliced apples and carrots, which disguised the bitter oleander, Tomin said.

Someone broke into the ranch overnight, she said. The sheriff's department is investigating.

The ranch has about 30 show horses worth about $2 million. Four are owned by the ranch; the rest are boarded for clients.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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