Horses die: Vet says rescued mares died of complications from starvation

dr jenkins wipes the eyes of a dying palomino

The court hearing on the abused horses from Texas City was held this morning. Jerry Finch, President of Habitat for Horses, was there championing for justice for the two horses that starved to death and the other three surviving abused horses. The three surviving horses were awarded to us, Habitat for Horses, where we will rehabilitate them so loving families can be found for them. Criminal charges have been filed on the owner. You too can Be A Champion to these horses by donating what you are able for their food and care: Click Here to Donate Now. ~ HfH

From: Galveston Daily News
By Christopher Smith Gonzalez

TEXAS CITY — Two severely malnourished horses seized from a West Texas City stable have died.

 The palomino and a young by mare have died of complications from starvation, veterinarian Michelle Milton said. Photo by Kevin Cox

The palomino and a young by mare have died of complications from starvation, veterinarian Michelle Milton said. Photo by Kevin Cox

A young bay mare died Saturday morning, and a palomino mare was humanly euthanized Monday morning after suffering from anemia, said Michelle Milton, one of the veterinarians treating the horses.

Both horses died because of complications from starvation, Milton said.

The two horses, only about 1 1⁄2 to 2 years old, were so malnourished they had to be carried out on sleds and taken to equine veterinarians in Santa Fe for treatment Jan. 7 when Texas City police took them and three other horses from a stable in the 800 block of North Orchid.

A hearing to determine who will be awarded custody of the remaining three horses is set for 9 a.m. today before Justice of Peace Darrell Apffel at the Galveston County Annex, 2516 Texas Ave., in Texas City.

Both mares were about 350 pounds underweight and suffering from low body temperature, among other issues, when they were taken to Santa Fe Equine Associates.

Initially, the mares were doing better and seemed to be recovering. The palomino mare was standing on her own last week, while the bay mare had gotten up for a short period only a day after being seized. But veterinarians cautioned much could still go wrong.

“When they come in as sick as they were, it’s a long process to try to get them back to health,” Milton said.

Carole Anne Pujazon and two surviving horses

Two of the surviving horses with Carole Anne Pujazon, Volunteer Coordinator for Habitat for Horses

The two were so sick they could not immediately be fed grain like normal horses, she said. They had to be slowly fed hay before moving on to other feed, she said.

“Unfortunately, their bodies just couldn’t handle being re-fed,” she said. “That’s not uncommon with horses that have been starved to the point of near death.”

It can take a horse about a week to starve to death if it gets no grass, hay or feed. The two mares probably had some grass or low quality hay and had taken months to get into the condition they were found in last week, Milton said.

If the two horses hadn’t been brought in for medical care last Tuesday, they would have died that night, she said.

“I really thought we were going to have better luck with them because they fought so hard,” Milton said.

The remaining three horses were taken to the Habitat for Horses facility in Hitchcock. Those horses, two sorrels and a miniature horse, were doing well, said Susan Moore, the lead investigator for Habitat for Horses.

Habitat for Horses was tipped off about the condition the horses were in last week. The rescue organization contacted the Texas City Police Department. The department has launched an investigation and last week interviewed a suspect.

No charges have been filed, but last week officers said progress was being made in the investigation.
Milton said she was devastated by the death of the two young mares.

“You know you get so attached to the really sick ones — a lot of nights together, just us,” Milton said. “They were sweet girls. I’m sorry they didn’t get a better chance at life.”

At a glance
WHAT: Court hearing to determine who will be awarded custody of the remaining three horses seized Jan. 7 from a West Texas City stable
WHEN: 9 a.m. today.
WHERE: Justice of Peace Darrell Apffel’s courtroom at the Galveston County Annex, 2516 Texas Ave., in Texas City

How to help
Donations are being accepted by Habitat for Horses to help cover the cost of the horses’ care. Call 409-935-0277.

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  • There is no excuse for any animal to let be starved to death. When u have any animal in your possession that is ur #1 priority. the health and well being of that animal. There need to be stricter laws in regard to willful neglect of horses or any animal. If it came down to it, my animals would eat even if I didn’t but humans can always find someone to feed them, animals depend on their owners.

    January 14, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    At the very least, the two little fillies – not even old enough to be mares – knew that someone cared. They wouldn’t have had that if no one had found them. Hope the 3 others are able to recover from this. Whoever did this needs to PAY for it – it wont help the babies, but he, she, or they need to be punished so others are warned there are consequences.
    Thanks so much for what you do.

    January 14, 2014
  • sherriey

    my heart cries for these poor horses. so very sad and disturbing. they died knowing they were loved, at least, and not all alone in a barren lot. Rest in peace girls, to a better place you go and deserve.

    Thank you all for trying your best….may God bless you.

    January 14, 2014
  • Sue

    All of you: thank you for doing what you could for these youngsters. They deserved so much more!

    January 14, 2014
  • I cried for the 2 little Fillies, at least they knew they were loved, whomever is responsible for this should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of law if I were the Judge I would make an example of the responsible person or persons,,,,,,,,there is no excuse for such neglect , if they needed help there is always someone who will help……………….. JUST ASK !!!!! Thank You Jerry and volunteers , We all know you did your best to save them !!!!! All the horse owners I know would feed their Horses before they would feed themselves !!!!!

    January 14, 2014
  • Margaret

    It really upsets me when I hear about this. I had a feeder years ago do this to my horse because he didn’t like me. He was appropriately fired as soon as the barn manager put it all together.

    I believe that anyone who buys/adopts/ or comes into “owning” an equine must pass some kind Pony Club class on horsemanship.

    Horsemanship when I was a kid was not about whether you knew how to ride–it was about BARN WORK. Cleaning tack, mucking stalls, feeding. It was understanding costs involved with horse ownership.

    I’m afraid that what we see today in part is–people see horsie’s like Zenyatta on tv and they want one. So rather than take appropriate classes to understand the costs involved–they just go out and buy buy buy. And then they don’t do the followup because somehow the horse didn’t live up to their expectation of Zenyatta.

    And no I’m not blaming Z, or her owners. I blame people who don’t bother to stand up to their responsibilities and somehow try to dodge the system. I LOVE and ADORE Zenyatta and happen to think she is a lucky horse indeed to have the Moss’s looking out for her. Lane’s End does a great job taking care of her.

    January 14, 2014
  • Nancy Albin

    You did whats right for those (2) horses I sure hope the abuser “owner is to good of a name for him to be known” “Abuser get’s hard labor!!” my heart goes out to you

    January 14, 2014
  • Nancy

    Thanks for doing that for horses Jerry. Now you need to come to Nevada and see whats going on with the Starlight Sanctuary in Silver Springs Nevada. There have been inevstigations there from local authorities but nothing done last I heard

    January 15, 2014