June 10, 2022, Spartanburg, S.C., Environmental Services seized 35 starving, neglected horses, most were Arabians. As of March 31, 2023, the 35 rescued Arabian horses are living in limbo.
The horses may have been rescued, but can’t be adopted out due to red tape.
We (Hollow Creek Farm Equine & Canine Rescue) rescued Shimmer and her 4-year-old foal Olive Oyl who had been so starved she was still nursing just to stay alive.
We had only planned on Shimmer, but when we loaded her into the trailer, Olive Oyl went crazy and we realized they were a mother-foal pair.
No rescuing organizations have been given a penny by the neglecter or any other entity. Rescues have relied solely on donors to pay for extensive veterinary care, medicine, nutritional supplements and food, farrier fees, or training.
All 35 horses were in extremely poor physical condition – emaciated — and many of them had Body Scores of 1 and 2. A Body Score of 1 means an animal is severely underweight and in danger of death from starvation.
A Body Score is a number assigned to an animal based on evaluation of the body fat and can range from 1 to 9.
The horses had open wounds on their bodies because they were left wild, unattended, and neglected, and beat each other up quite a bit with bites and kicks.
They had fungal infections and rain rot from being outdoors year-round with no shelter. They have extremely high intestinal parasite counts. Their hooves were overgrown and had thrush. Most horses were so weak they could barely stand as they were trailered off the property.
There were stallions running loose with mares so many of these mares were bred, and foals will be born soon. In what condition? It is unknown.
There is a possibility in each horse of three horrible diseases: Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Equine Protazoal Myloencephalits (EPM), and Cerebellar Abiotrophy.
Shimmer is one of those mares and thankfully she and Olive tested negative for all, and Shimmer’s foal, Sir Tuckerington was born healthy on 3/22/23.
It might seem like a triumph to save the horses and wonderful news that so many individual animal rescues stepped up to bring the 35 horses back to health and provide for them in a proper manner. But rescue is expensive.
We are so happy that the hard-working animal control officers pursued this case and continue to do this valuable service.
And we’re so glad that Sir Tuck was born healthy, and that Shimmer and Olive Oyl have been recuperating.
However, getting the horses to a safe place to be provided for is barely the first step in this rescue story. Sadly, this is the way most seizure and neglect rescue cases unfold.
It began with a bang because the news media, in typical fashion, picked up the story and broadcast it far and wide. But they are not following up to make sure that there is coverage here are two news stories covering the 35-horse neglect case:
But now the real challenge begins: raising money for food and care. Rescue is the easy step. The hard work begins the moment the neglected and abused horses arrive. We have to raise money to care for the horses. We don’t get a penny for this from anyone.
Please donate to Shimmer, Sir Tuckerington, and Olive Oyl here in any amount. Every dollar helps! https://hollowcreekfarm.org/donate/
Rescues do not receive funds and we really need your help! We’ve not received many donations for the three horses and we need it now more than ever.
All of the cost to caring for these animals is 100% provided by the rescues that took the horses into their programs. There is no state, county, private, or government funding to care for these horses.
Due to drought and a scarcity of fertilizer due to supply chain issues, round hay bales cost $90 each. A bale of hay is $12, and the high-nutrition feed they need is $28/50lbs. We’re going through everything fast.
The worst of it all is that all the horses are in limbo and can’t be adopted out due to the way the court system works.
Adoption couldn’t happen because the horses were not the final property of the rescues until many months after. The paperwork to get the horse ownership into the hands of the rescues was delayed.
The rescue organizations that took the horses in are not allowed to even geld the stallions. For those who don’t know horses, a stallion requires special handling because of their high-strung behavior and they cause havoc on a farm with other horses.
Special re-feeding programs with forage and feed must be used to prevent organ failure in these horses. Re-feeding a starved pregnant mare makes this task even more complicated.
Many of these horses have never been handled. Care must also be taken in consideration for human safety during daily care, veterinarian visits, and farrier visits. You cannot put a halter on an untrained horse and then get its feet taken care of, or try to give the horse its vaccinations. They’re too wild.
It was discovered that some horses in this case have Equine Protazoal Myloencephalits (EPM) a devastating disease that is picked up by the horses from eating possum and cat feces. Yes, the horses ate this because they were starving. EPM treatment can run into thousands of dollars for each one of these horses and EPM Treatment is not always successful.
Some of the horses are likely carriers of Cerebellar Abiotrophy meaning a genetic disease that can be passed onto offspring and is a deadly neurological condition if two carrier animals are bred.
It is unknown at this point if any of the foals will be born with this genetic disorder and there is no choice but euthanasia for them.
Now for the tragic portion of this story. Right now this case is nine months old. The abuser dragged the case through the court system. He missed court dates, showed up late, asked for extensions, was given extensions.
All the while the rescue people caring for the horses were required by subpoena to be in court EVERY time.
The rescues that volunteered to help these horses continue to pay feed, vet, farrier, medication, bills. They are working with the horses to make them used to people, train and handle them. The money being poured into them will never be recouped. Ever.
The only hope is that they will one day be adopted into a loving home that will care for them forever.
This is why we rescue.
The court system is punishing the very people that step up to help the system by allowing the cases to drag on.
Genetic testing needs to be done and the horses need to be DNA identified to see if they have bloodlines that will give them a better chance at adoption by matching them with their registration papers.
Training needs to start to make these horses safe and maybe adoptable.
But we are not in an economy where donations are coming in to help the horses, and the horse market is not ideal to even find adoptive homes for these horses IF the rescues are ever given ownership.
We need to change the way the courts work in clear-cut cases of neglect and abuse by making the animals the priority. These are living beings that require care seven days a week. These horses have had horrible lives until the day that they were rescued. We want to give them food, shelter, care, and training so that they’ll have good lives and Forever Homes.
I fought for an attorney to help me get the paperwork from the Arabian Horse Association which has to approve Shimmer’s and Olive Oyl’s DNA. By having registered horses they’ll stand a chance at being adopted into Forever Homes. Please help us, help the horses. Donate today! https://hollowcreekfarm.org/donate/