on Friday, November 17, 2023
When we initially rescued 46 horses from a Dallas County property, we could immediately tell it was bad, very bad … but after we had equine veterinarians come to the ARL Second Chance Ranch to thoroughly examine each one, we learned it’s actually far worse than we originally thought. What has been compared to the equivalent of a puppy mill, this “horse mill” rescue was not the first time horses have suffered at this property, but hopefully this will finally be the last.
The sheer level of suffering these horses endured is heartbreaking, and their needs are extensive. The most severely injured horse, who was taken directly to an equine emergency vet for a deep, infected neck wound, spent nearly 2 weeks at the veterinary hospital while vets worked to get his previously untreated infection under control and ensure the deepest parts of his wound would heal. The young horse, who we are calling Rojo, is finally back at our Second Chance Ranch, and our team is providing daily wound care to help him continue to heal. He has a long way to go, but he is expected to survive.
Rojo is just one of many who arrived with severe, untreated wounds and other infections. All of the injured horses are now receiving daily individualized treatments from our team to help them heal. Under the guidance of hired equine veterinarians, the horses – who were found with little to no food and water on the property for what appears to have been a long time – have already gained weight. Veterinarians have also found evidence of a chronic lack of hoof and dental care.
Sadly, for the most emaciated horse, who we were lovingly calling Bluey, the long-term neglect he suffered was too much to come back from. After his rescue, Bluey spent nearly a week at an equine veterinary hospital getting round-the-clock care. Veterinarians discovered he was missing most of his teeth, so even when his herd was lucky enough to have access to ANY food on the property, it was not food Bluey could eat. He had suffered weeks, probably months, of starvation without anyone helping him. He stood by, watching helplessly as the other horses fought for the meager food that they sometimes received, as he continued to starve.
In the end, even with excellent veterinary care and a special gruel that he was able to eat, he was simply too weak. Over the weekend, his body gave out. An emergency visit by equine veterinarians confirmed that he simply could not fight anymore, and we lovingly and humanely helped end his suffering.
Bluey’s loss is heartbreaking. But for the survivors, the most shocking discovery lies below the surface. The vast majority of these horses are displaying genetic deformities of the legs and feet caused by poor breeding practices. Even horses as young as yearlings are beginning to show abnormalities. Most will never be rideable, and many may need special care throughout their lives. What’s more, many of the horses from this case are likely pregnant … so the numbers will continue to grow.
These horses have been through a LOT, and the care they need is extensive. Food alone for this large number of horses is daunting – we’ve had to triple our hay deliveries – and equine veterinary bills for inpatient care and on-site treatments are steadily climbing. Our Second Chance Ranch program needs your support now more than ever.
When you donate today or give monthly, you’ll be helping give hope to these horses and others who have suffered neglect, and you’ll make it possible for our Second Chance Ranch to continue to be there for horses and other barn animals whenever they need us.
Plus, this month your donation will make 2X the impact, thanks to a matching gift offer in memory of Michael and Greta Hayward and their love of animals. Your gift will be doubled, so you’ll make twice the difference.
Please give a gift of love today.
P.S.: The investigation is ongoing and the ARL is continuing to assist authorities in this case. When you give today or join our Loyal Friends Club monthly giving program, you’ll automatically be enrolled to receive updates on these horses.