Over two dozen horses were found among a number of dead horses on a Pennsylvania farm at the beginning of the year and 21 of them were rescued by Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Mount Airy, Maryland. The remaining horses were taken for rescue and care to other farms.
The horses were living like wild horses and there was no sign of grain or hay anywhere on the farm. Living with a scattering of dead horse carcasses, the animals had gone wild, were They were wild, extremely gaunt, and required care, some of it specialized.
Amy Kaunas, executive director of the Humane Society of Harrisburg, said that the scene was simply devastating. All of the horses were on their own, living like several wild herds, and fending entirely for themselves.
The owner of the horses, Rebecca Roberts, was found guilty of 30 counts of animal abuse. Because she filed an appeal, the horses were thrown into uncertain status. At this stage, they can neither be adopted permanently nor can the stallions be gelded.
Kaunas said, “The appeal process can be very lengthy, and they are still considered evidence."
All of the horses were wild and unmanageable when they came to Gentle Giants. Most of the Rescue’s volunteers were unable to handle them. There were a number of stallions that had not been gelded resulting in inbreeding. Because of the appeal status, the stallion problems continue because they still cannot be castrated.
Costs of care and feeding are exorbitant. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and PetSmart have helped with a grant and some medical care support while Gentle Giants is covering the costs of feed and long-term care.
Christine Hajek, president and founder of the Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, said,
Like all of these cases, this is where it gets challenging. There's lots of media coverage in the beginning, but now that it's become an 'old' case, public support and interest has died off.
Hopefully horse people and caring animal people in our country will not forget the daily struggle of abused horses and consider their and also the diligent work and care by Gentle Giants. A donation to defray the mounting costs at Gentle Giants would be of tremendous help at this time.
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