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August 26, 2009

The HSUS Assists in Rescue of Oregon Farm Animals

The Humane Society of the United States

SUTHERLIN, Ore. — Twenty-eight neglected goats and one horse have been rescued from a life of illness, misery, and neglect thanks in part to the efforts of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSUS worked with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department to rescue these ailing animals from a Sutherlin, Ore. farm.

"The conditions on this farm property were horrific," said Scott Beckstead, senior state director for Oregon.  "The health and welfare of these animals had been badly neglected.  We applaud the Douglas County Sheriff for taking this matter seriously, and we expect that the case will be aggressively prosecuted, with the final result that these individuals will be barred from owning animals for a long time." 

Beckstead noted that the individuals had previous convictions for animal neglect in another Oregon county, and had been visited several times by local law enforcement prior to Tuesday's seizure and rescue operation.

The HSUS was first alerted to this case by an anonymous complaint about conditions at the farm. We then contacted the Animal Control Deputy for the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, who initiated an investigation.

When responders entered the property Tuesday, they found filthy conditions and piles of animal carcasses spread across the property, as well as animals lying dead in cages and pens.

The goats were suffering from a variety of ailments including respiratory infections and a serious bacterial infection that is specific to goats.  Some of the goats were unable to stand and walk due to their severely overgrown hooves. The lone horse was also suffering from hoof problems due to long-standing neglect.

Responders seized 28 goats and one horse from the property.  The goats were transported to Saving Grace, a nonprofit group which operates an animal shelter in Douglas County. The HSUS donated hay, minerals and feed from its nearby Duchess Sanctuary, which provides a home to nearly 200 horses in north Douglas County.  The horse was taken to Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, a horse rescue organization with a long and successful history of rehabilitating badly-neglected horses.

Many of the animals, especially those with overgrown hooves, will need months of rehabilitation to recover. Several cows, pigs, ducks and chickens were also found on the farm, but were not removed. These animals were not in need of immediate medical attention, but will be monitored closely by local law enforcement.

Photos from this rescue are available upon request.

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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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