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Nearly 50 Allegedly Neglected West Virginia Equines Rescued

Update: The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that custody of all 49 equines rescued has been granted to The HSUS. In a hearing on June 8, the owner of the horses pleaded guilty to three charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty stemming from the condition of the animals on his property. Read the full story»

PRICHARD, W.Va.—The Humane Society of the United States worked with the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter to rescue 49 horses, mules and donkeys from a Wayne County property. The animals were seized by the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter due to poor health and signs of neglect. This is one of the largest equine rescues in the state.

"The Humane Society of the United States is proud to be able to come to the aid of these animals. Our rescue came not a moment too soon for some of the especially sick horses," said Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director 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 Prichard property, they found many Tennessee Walking Horses and Saddle horse crosses, as well as mules and donkeys. Many of the animals were extremely emaciated and suffering from a variety of medical ailments including overgrown, infected hooves, parasite infestation and untreated wounds.

Concerned local citizens shocked by the condition of the equines complained to the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter and the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The HSUS was called in to act as the lead animal welfare organization in the case. The HSUS then called in United Animal Nations to provide sheltering support.

Rescuers are removing all of the horses, donkeys and mules 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. The horses will be cared for at the shelter by The HSUS and UAN until their custody is determined.

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.

The HSUS will have video and photos available from this rescue for viewing and download by news media outlets upon request.


Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

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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