September 16, 2010 - In just three days, two separate cases of animal cruelty involving horses took place in the same County. A mother and her young baby were abandoned on Clay Station Road in The South West corner of Sacramento County. The mother and foal were barely clinging to life when a passerby found them and called officials, the horses are more than four hundred pounds underweight.
Three days later a 3 year old was left for dead in an empty field off Latrobe Road by Jackson. This horse was suffering from major medical problems that had left him unable to bear weight on his hoofs. He had no water and food and was near death when officers arrived. A Veterinarian had to administer fluids in the field to keep him alive as officials struggled to get him standing.
The horses were brought to Sacramento County Animal Control and later transferred to The Grace Foundation, an Equine rescue and rehabilitation ranch that works with animal control cases such as these. The Grace Foundation has a full time Veterinarian on staff and can provide the around the clock care that these horses will need to try and make a recovery.
Sadly this brings the number of abandoned horses to twenty one since the beginning of this year. However to this point nothing has been as bad as these two cases. I can't imagine how anyone could abandon these horses in this condition”, says Beth DeCaprio, Executive Director of The Grace Foundation.
The severity of these cases has prompted The Humane Society of The United States to offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of responsible parties
“ Abandoning horses is animal cruelty and cannot be tolerated. Being a horse owner is a choice that comes with the responsibility to provide humane, competent care at all times," said Jennifer Fearing, California Senior State Director for The Humane Society of the United States, which is offering the reward.
The other troubling problem in the cost of the care for these abandonment cases. The county agencies have had huge budget cuts and do not have the resources to care for these types of cases. Once these horses complete their "stray" period, the agencies need to find placement. Horses in this condition cannot go up for adoption. If groups like The Grace Foundation do not take them, they is usually no other option but euthanasia.
“We have taken every horse that has come through the door at Sacramento County for the past 7 years”. Says Beth, “thanks to the support of the community we have been able to do this”, but the need has become so much greater and our donations have not been able to keep pace as our supporters feel the economic strain themselves”.
Beth hopes that the reward will deter people from abandoning horses and look at other options. The Grace Foundation has set up the HERO (Horse emergency response operation), for people that are unable to care for their horses. “It is much easier to care and place horses when they are in good body condition. In the case of these three horses we are looking at several months and thousands of dollars to bring them back to health”.
The Mother and her baby will more than likely survive, but it is still unknown if they will be able to save the three year old now named Keola -- meaning life. He is in critical condition. “These are the ones that really break your heart”, says ranch manager Lisa Dowling, Keola loves everyone and knickers to us each time he sees us, even when we are giving him his medications”. “It is amazing these horses ability to forgive and overcome adversity,” adds Lisa. “These horses know that we are trying to help them, we all feel an obligation not to let them down”.
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