6 Neglected Horses Rescued
In August of this year, six neglected and abused horses(Pete, Beauty, Goldie, Mac, Rosie, Shetan)from a farm in Banks, Oregon (Washington County) were rescued.
To view more photos go to www.helpthehorses.org
These former show horses were locked inside a barn, forced to sleep in their own waste, eat wood from the walls for food and stand on painful feet rotting with infection.
These precious animals have a long road to recovery, but it is a road to a better life. They need nourishment, medical attention, and the touch of caring hands. They NEED your help! Pete, one of the neglected horses, needs $6,000 for surgery on September 5th to survive. Pete's left fetlock joint had a small puncture wound that was untreated by his owner Susan Matlock and has caused the joint itself to become septic, causing bone and scar tissue beyond self repair. The only way to save Pete is surgery.
When Krissy Matterson (Matterson's Pride Equine Rescue) rescued Pete, he could barely stand because of his leg infection and he had to sleep lying in his own manure. It had been days since Pete was fed. The stallion was 700 pounds underweight and was knawing on the wood stable and eating his own waste to stay alive. He had a fever of more than a 104. "I think he probably had less than a week to live," Matterson says.
Pete will undergo surgery on the injured leg, and with luck, he will someday walk and run with five other horses Matterson rescued in early August from Susan Matlocks barn in Banks.
Susan Field of Washington County's Animal Services Division says her agency tried to work with Susan Matlock, (a breeder and a veterinarian who closed practices in Forest Grove and Lake Oswego last year),to get care for the horses, but it finally had to get a search warrant to examine them. Sheriff's deputies seized the horses. Matlock was accused of six counts of animal neglect and is due in court next week.
The Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board disciplined Matlock after both Veterinarian clinics in Forest Grove and Lake Oswego closed and pet owners were unable to retrieve their records.
Animal Services is watching her other horses to monitor their health; they were pastured outside. "Outside, a horse can fend for itself," Matterson says. "In a stable, it is like a kid in a playpen. It has to depend on someone else for everything."
Matterson moved the six malnourished horses to her Elk Ridge Stables near Gaston. When she brought the horses out, they were weak and scared and barely able to move under their own power, she said. Their ribs showed like framing timbers under a tarp. "We've been able to put some weight on them," she says. "Physically, they are coming along pretty well."
But, as equestrians are quick to point out, horses are smart and have long memories. "We actually had to teach them to eat grain again," Matterson says. "It had been so long since they had been fed, they had gotten used to eating waste off the floor."
She said all the horses were distrustful of people. One turned its back to kick anyone who entered the stall.
They are Tennessee Walking horses, prized for their high-stepping gait.
But the distinctive gait comes at a price. The horses' lower legs were wrapped in treated towels that were then wrapped in plastic. The procedure makes the legs tender and forces the horses to step even higher to avoid touching chains used during training. They also were fitted with weighted shoes to develop their lower legs.
"But the shoes were a horrible fit," says Justin Graves, a farrier who volunteers at the shelter. "In another year, their legs would have been ruined."
Matterson and friend Jill Barth founded the horse-rescue charity a year ago.
"We hoped to save two or three horses a year," she says. But in 12 months, they have placed 42 horses for adoption, have four in foster care and have six more being cared for by friends.
It costs her about $100 a day to care for the six she has in her stalls. Pete's surgery will be about $6,000.
Donations can be made to Help the Horses Fund at any Bank of the West. Photos can be viewed at www.helpthehorses.org. Let me warn you, they show exactly how the animals lived and the deplorable condition they were in when they were rescued.
Look at them. Get angry.
Then do what you can to help. They are magnificent, innocent animals that simply deserve to be treated better.
*I would also like to say that as much as I dislike the Horegonian, Jerry F. Boone deserves credit for some of the info of this article. He did an excellent job in writing his article in the Horegonian, and if it wasn't for him I might not have known about this story. So if you want to tell him thanks for covering this issue or have any other comments or suggestions, contact him at 503-294-5960; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.*
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