PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WLNE) -- Animal investigators were concerned after seeing a horse, underweight enough to show protruding ribs, belonging to attorney and former state representative Amy Rice of Portsmouth.

"It's not something that we would ignore," said Rhode Island SPCA President Joe Warzycha. "I think we would be derelict in our duties not to look into it further."

Rice argued the horse suffered from a metabolic disease.

"We're not ignorant to the fact that there could be other underlying reasons why any animal is skinny, not just unique to this case," Warzycha said. "We don't rush to judgment, and we didn't in this case. We took the time to see."

Investigators fed and monitored the horse over eight weeks using a scientific body condition scoring system.

"So even if someone were to argue, 'How did you get an accurate weight on this animal?', we look more at a body score or body condition where you can visually see improvements in this horse," Warzycha said.

By the end of that time, the RISPCA said the horse was back to health.

"All we did was provide the horse an adequate, regular diet, and the horse put on weight," said Warzycha. "So that's really the basis for the charges being brought forward."

Rice did not respond to our requests for comment.

She's scheduled to be in court Tuesday.


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