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November 25, 2009

Neglected Horses Rescued in Tenn.

Once in a struggle to survive, 84 horses will soon be on their way to better health.

The Humane Society of the United States

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The Humane Society of the United States and the Cannon County Sheriff's Department joined forces to rescue 84 horses from a property in Tennessee.

The horses were seized by the Sheriff's Department due to signs of neglect and poor health, and have now been surrendered by their owner. The horses, who were rescued from squalid conditions on a 100-acre Bradyville farm, are now under the ownership of The HSUS.

Rescuers also removed seven dogs, two goats and two chickens from the property. The animals were all in poor condition.

A Struggle to Survive

"This rescue came not a moment too soon for the animals, including 84 horses struggling to survive," said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS.

"There's no excuse for starving or neglecting an animal. It is the responsibility of every horse owner to provide humane, responsible care for their horses at all stages of their life."

When rescuers arrived on the property, they found many Tennessee Walking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses, as well as quarter horses.

Tennessee Walking Horses and Spotted Saddle Horses are two breeds that commonly suffer from soring, an abusive practice that involves the intentional infliction of pain to a horse's legs or hooves in order to force an artificial, exaggerated gait.

Many of the horses were extremely emaciated and suffering from a variety of medical ailments including overgrown, infected hooves and parasite infestation. Rescuers also found several dead horses on the scene.

Joining Forces to Help

Local law enforcement was alerted to this critical situation by citizens concerned for the health of the horses.

The sheriff's department called in The HSUS to act as the lead animal welfare organization in the case. The HSUS then called in United Animal Nations to provide sheltering support and Volunteer Equine Advocates to assist in animal handling and transport.

Invaluable assistance was also provided by officials from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, who provided a stable to be used as an emergency shelter.

“Today marks a new beginning for these animals, who can now begin their journey to healthy, happy lives”

“This rescue would not have been possible without the outpouring of support we received from local horse lovers willing to come to the aid of these neglected animals,” said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS.

Rescuers are removing all of the horses from the property and transporting them to a temporary shelter. Once the horses reach the shelter they will be checked by a team of veterinarians and given any necessary immediate medical care.

Once they are strong enough to be transported again, these horses will be placed with local rescues and adopted out to responsible homes.

Humane Options Available

Horse owners who can no longer care for their horses have many humane options available to them:

  • Sell the horse to a properly vetted, private owner
  • Lease the horse to another horse enthusiast
  • Donate the horse to a therapeutic riding center, park police unit or similar program
  • Relinquish the horse to a horse rescue or sanctuary
  • Consider humane euthanasia.
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