Two horses rescued

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has rescued two horses from a barn on Big Branch Road where they were starving and locked in a stall in their own feces.

According to the animal rescuer, Dee Staley, the horses are in “pitiful shape.”

She said a vet examined the horses Monday and on a body condition scale of one as the worst and nine as the best, “the gray mare is a one and the gelding is a two.”

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She estimated the mare was in its late teens or early twenties and the gelding is between 10 and 15 years old.

“The gray mare was probably three or four days from dying and we are still not sure she is going to live,” Staley said, adding the other horse was in slightly better shape. “You could count all 218 bones in their bodies.”

The sheriff’s office is still investigating the case and no charges have been filed yet.

Staley raises and shows registered quarter horses in Lawrence County. Twenty years ago, the county humane officer asked her to take in some neglected horses and she has been doing so ever since.

She said the saddest part was the horses were locked in barn with “three feet of feces in their stalls.”

“They were staring out their stall doors at a fenced-in lot with hip high grass,” she said.

She mentioned a show called “Animal Cops” on the television channel “Animal Planet.”

“I think we are getting more aware that there is pet abuse,” she said. “These horses are in as bad a shape as anything you would see on that show.”

“There is no reason for these horses, besides pure neglect, to be this way,” Staley said. She estimates that it costs about $20 a week to feed a horse.

The report about the animals came from neighbors who noticed a bad smell coming from the barn.

“I have to give credit to the neighbors for having the guts to go look and to call the sheriff,” Staley said. “A lot of people will turn their back and say it’s not their problem.”