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Neglected horses recovering     [Suzi and Whiskey News]
April 28, 2009

TOWN OF WALLKILL The chestnut gelding had lost about 200 pounds and the palomino mare had lost about 600 pounds, half of her body weight.

"She was just a bag of bones," said Rachael Fiske of Pine Bush Equine, the veterinarian who treated her.

Worse, the mare's halter had become embedded in the flesh of her face, exposing portions of her jawbone. There were maggots in the wounds. It took Fiske six hours to surgically remove the harness.

"It was definitely the worst case of neglect I have ever seen," Fiske said of the two horses found on a property between Fair Oaks and Bloomingburg earlier this month.

Town of Wallkill police Chief Robert Hertman says his department is still investigating to determine whether animal cruelty charges will be filed.

Lynda Broas of Equine Rescue in Bloomingburg says her organization had received calls over the past several weeks about the condition of two horses on the property at 510 Prosperous Valley Road. No action was taken until April 16, when one of the horses got loose and a neighbor called police.

The next day, Fiske was called to inspect the horses: a palomino mare about 12 years old and a chestnut gelding about 18. Fiske recommended they be removed from the property, and they were taken to Equine Rescue.

According to Fiske, the owner, whose name was unavailable, said the horses were bought last November. Fiske said that would be consistent with the long-term neglect the horses displayed.

Fiske says the horses are recovering, although the mare's recovery has been more difficult. And the bills for the treatment are piling up. But since police have yet to charge the owner, the bills will go to Equine Rescue, Fiske and Broas say.

Fiske is frustrated that charges haven't been filed.

"Absolutely, the original owners should be responsible for all of this," she says. "A horse is a 1,000-pound responsibility not to be taken lightly."

by Keith Goldberg