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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your Chance to Help Starving Horses

by Marty Maline, Kentucky HBPA Executive Director

On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Mike Bruder and I traveled to the Vanderburgh County 4-H center, where we viewed, first hand, the horses recently confiscated from a farm in Evansville, Indiana, and donated a check from the Kentucky HBPA to assist the care and feeding of the horses.

Having viewed the aftermath of three fires and a tornado and the devastation they caused, I felt I was prepared to deal with what Mike and I were about to witness. I was terribly wrong.

The appalling physical condition of the 18 horses was beyond comprehension, and you wonder how anyone would allow this to happen.

There were two very young horses suspected to be near six months old, yet their body weight was closer to a foal of two months of age. One of the young horses, due to his lack of proper nutrition, had one leg that appeared to be useless and would probably not survive.

Another horse was suffering from some type of fungus that had literally eaten away the hide on his back. Several of the horses are in danger of losing their feet. Many were emaciated and very weak. Manure was caked on their fur so thick and so close to the skin that in order to cut it off, it would require cutting into the skin. A halter was embedded into one of the broodmare’s neck, yet it could not be sutured due to the danger of infection from the manure.

One young filly had experienced numerous episodes with colic and is not expected to live. Yet she struggled to her feet and on very unsteady legs, walked over to me, and nudged my hand.

Several horses had only stubs for tails since the others had eaten them for the little amount of food it provided. The broodmares are in foal, but the babies are expected to be born dead since all of the mares are skin and bones and not capable of providing any type of nutrition to the foals they are carrying.

The people caring for the horses are volunteers, and they are in need of help.

People are donating bedding and some feed, but for 18 horses, the need is great.

Mary, one of the ladies, explained that they are using poultice on many of the horse’s legs in an attempt to draw out the fluid collecting there. Yet the cost is nearly $40 per pail. Apparently, the swelling is due to the fact that most of the horses' kidneys are not functioning correctly. Instead of urine flushing waste from the horses' systems, the flow is white like condensed milk.

They estimated that many of the horses, when recovered from the farm, were approximately two weeks away from dying from starvation.

People interested in donating to the horses' valiant effort to survive can mail or drop off to:

Animal Care and Control
Attn: Spirit Medical Fund
815 Uhlhorn Street
Evansville, Indiana 47710-2729

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