Near her last breath, we came to her side
Back in the rainy, wet weather of late winter, we were requested to help Yamhill County Sheriff department with a welfare check on two horses and two alpacas. Neighbors had contacted the sheriff after they noticed carpeting peices being taken to a pasture, horse blankets being piled on a mound of what they thought was mud, with the final disconcerting actions of placing a plastic tarp over the mound in the dark of night,during high winds.
At about 9pm, a call comes to the shelter: "Hello, this is Deputy....., we need your assistance at a location for a welfare check". O.K. what time tomorrow will you need us to meet you? "Deputy: This can't wait, I'll meet you there in 20 minutes".
We donned our boots, raincoats, and bundled up in as much cold weather gear as possible. Upon arrival at the property, the sheriff was waiting, lights flashing. He had donned his rain gear as well. He stoicly walked through a rickety wire gait to the mounded blankets, carpet, and plastic tarp. We soon also came through the gate, pulling our boots from feet deep of sticky mud to get there. As we prepared to lift the tarp, we look to the porch of the house. The owner was drinking beer, laughing with friends. They sent a 6 year old little girl, in her pajamas with no rain or cold weather gear, with an ice-cream bucket of water, to us.
As we lifted the tarp, we found the mare; a leopard appaloosa whose ribs resembled a washboard, not a horse. Her backbone was protruding, hips were gouged into to the muddy groun. She had bubbles, mucous, and blood dripping from her nose as she was on her way out of this life from starvation and untreated pneumonia. The little girl told us the water was for the horse when she set the bucket down. She wanted to know when the mare will stand as her parents gave her that horse, we let her know to ask her parents why the horse isn't standing. She ran back to the house. We heard yelling on the porch and the little girl was hurried inside.
Shortly thereafter, in our arms, the mare passed. Shivering, blue gums, eyes recessed into her head from severe dehydration, and of course starved. We asked the owners if they had any other horses as it was pitch black in darkness during the storm that late at night. The owners denied having any other horses. We did a sweep of the property and found another. She was standing in a shed with an alpaca laying next to her. Her ear tips were frozen off, her ribs were showing. She had to get through 3' of mud to have gotten in to the broken down shelter. The alpaca wouldn't move and was very thin as well. Another alpaca was also found on the property and was quite berserk. All remaining animals needed rescue.
Through teamwork of the United SPCA and exogent circumstances found by the sheriff, the remaining animals were immediately removed. Defiantly, the owners stopped us after we approached our trailer and asked why we weren't taking the dead horse with us too. What do we say to a question like that? We had no answer. The animals, we were told by the owners, would not load in the trailer to leave. As soon as the team opened the trailer doors, they all jumped in and never looked back. We all left in tears mourning the loss of the appaloosa mare, but rejoicing in saving the other three animals.
The remaining animals survived after rescue and actually flourished in their new environment provided by the United SPCA shelter. Your donations are the only reason we have happy endings to these stories. Please help us continue to save animals, we can't do this without you.
No horse deserves this neglect
Frost bite of her ears - no reason for it
Sweet Ruby with her near dead alpaca at her side
Ruby just two weeks before adoption