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April 23, 2009

Nearly 200 Neglected Horses Begin Road to Recovery

Animal Welfare Groups Come Together to Aid Rescued Mustangs

The Humane Society of the United States

BRIDGEPORT, Neb. — Nearly 200 horses rescued from the 3-Strikes Mustang Ranch are now being transported to safety at the Bridgeport Fairgrounds. This is one of the largest equine rescue operations in Nebraska history.

When members of the Morrill County Sheriff's Department raided the 3-Strike Ranch last week they found the nearly 200 mustangs living in crowded, filthy pens without access to proper food or fresh water. The horses were severely emaciated and suffering from overgrown hooves and other untreated medical conditions. Unfortunately, help came too late for approximately 60 horses found dead on the property.

"This is one of the most disturbing cases of cruelty that I have come across in many years of equine rescue," said Jerry Finch, director of Habitat for Horses. "These mustangs are part of our American history and deserve respect and proper care."

The property owner, Jason Charles Meduna, was arrested last Friday and charged with cruel neglect of an animal, a class IV felony. According to its website 3-Strikes Ranch adopts wild horses and burros from the Bureau of Land Management and also cares for horses for rescue organizations and private individuals.

The surviving horses have been seized by The Morrill County Sheriff's Department. Habitat for Horses has called in The Humane Society of the United States, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, Front Range Equine Rescue and a cadre of local volunteers to assist with the transport and care of the mustangs. The groups involved are currently reaching out to mustang rescue groups across the country to find permanent housing for these animals.

The Humane Society of the United States arrived on site Wednesday with a team of a dozen equine handlers and animal rescue specialists. The HSUS will be providing much-needed logistical, administrative, intake and sheltering support for these neglected mustangs.

"The HSUS is proud to come to the assistance of these noble mustangs. We will be here to provide them the comfort they need as they start happy, healthy new lives," said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services for The HSUS.

Individuals interested in making financial donations to support this rescue effort can do so through The Humane Society of the United States or Front Range Equine Rescue. Local residents able to donate hay and feed-based wormer can drop those items at the Bridgeport Fairgrounds.

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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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