Two decrepit barns, thick with dust and cobwebs, greeted rescuers when they arrived at a rural Ohio property on a cold fall morning. “It really, truly looked abandoned, except there were animals living in there,” says Laura Koivula, director of animal crimes and investigations for our Animal Rescue Team.
In November, the Humane Society of the United States assisted the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of 16 horses, six goats and several cats and dogs from an alleged neglect situation in Ashland, Ohio. The Humane Society of Ashland County, Days End Farm Horse Rescue and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary also assisted with the rescue.
After the rescue, the animals went to safe locations to receive veterinary care. Sadly, nearly half of the rescued horses had to be euthanized due to the severity of their medical conditions.
“There were a number of different issues, mostly chronic but some acute, that had been left untreated for so long they were beyond a stage that could be humanely managed,” says Koivula.
One brown mare who was found emaciated and unable to walk on her own was euthanized after a veterinary examination determined that she was in severe pain that would persist even with treatment to her feet. As the mare munched on hay in a warm stall, rescuers gave her affection and treats during her last moments.
It really, truly looked abandoned, except there were animals living in there.
Laura Koivula, The HSUS
A white male cat—found by rescuers barely conscious and immediately removed from the scene for emergency veterinary care—was also euthanized after spending a week at a veterinary hospital. Staff members tried their best to save him, but despite an emergency blood transfusion and other efforts, he continued to decline. The team decided to end his suffering.