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March 27, 2009

The HSUS Helps Rescue Starving Horses and Cows

Group Praises Harney County Sheriff for Taking Farm Animal Neglect Seriously

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is helping the Harney County, Ore. Sheriff's Department with the rescue of about 75 starving and neglected horses and cows from a property in the central part of the county. 

Two residents of the property were each charged Wednesday with five counts of first-degree animal neglect and four counts of second-degree animal neglect — all misdemeanors — after deputies alleged they failed to provide proper care for their horses.

"We are grateful that the Harney County sheriff takes animal neglect seriously," said Scott Beckstead, The HSUS' Oregon senior state director, who helped at the scene. "It is rewarding to know that even in remote areas of our state, law enforcement agencies are giving animal welfare the serious attention it deserves, and The HSUS is glad to help."

Sheriff David Glerup asked The HSUS to help his department with the rescue of about 45 starving horses and about 30 starving cows, several of whom gave birth in recent days. Glerup said that, in addition to the emaciated animals, there were several dead animals scattered throughout the property. 

Scott Beckstead and Jackie Beckstead, The HSUS' animal cruelty caseworker, helped with the rescue effort.  Both are trained in assessing cases of animal neglect and have extensive farm animal handling experience. 

When The HSUS arrived to help, the scene was grim: Animals were badly malnourished and diseased. Hooves on some animals are so overgrown and misshapen that they appeared crippled. Some have untreated injuries and others are obviously very sick. There are calves only a few days old nursing on painfully thin mother cows, and several mares appear to be pregnant.

The HSUS was asked to supplement sheriff's department personnel with more volunteers to corral and transport the animals, whose temperaments and socialization levels were unknown. The property has insufficient corrals and handling facilities, so The HSUS and the sheriff have found two area ranchers who have volunteered to accept the animals, and care for them on their property pending the outcome of court proceedings regarding custody of the animals. In addition to The HSUS, the sheriff enlisted the assistance of the Bureau of Land Management, which cares for wild horses waiting for adoption in the Burns area, and volunteers from the Oregon Horse Welfare Council. The HSUS also arranged for two veterinarians to examine the animals and provide veterinary care during the rescue operation.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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