Editor’s Note: Most of us don’t see the quiet actions of horse rescue organizations. But incredible and incredibly good work goes on every day, year-round. Recently, the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, New England’s largest such organization, took in 20 horses that a woman had severely neglected over many months.
The following report was shared upon request by Meris Bickford, MSSPA chief executive officer.
It’s always frustrating to read these kinds of stories, but also gratifying to know that horses can, if lucky, land at a place like the Society. The next step after gratitude is action:
Consider being a watch dog for horses in peril.
Consider supporting the MSSPA and other 501 (c)(3) organizations that function as a safety net, sometimes the only safety net, for these animals.
Consider adopting a rescued horse. These horses will be available for adoption. Learn more about MSSPA adoptions.
In response to a recent request from Maine’s Department of Agriculture for assistance, the private, non-profit Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, organized the round-up, transportation, and rescue of 20 neglected horses. Local law enforcement and state officials executed a search warrant in the matter, allowing for the removal of the horses. Later in the process, the owner was allowed to surrender all of the horses and numerous other animals on the property. She was not charged in the matter.
The MSSPA now has title to the horses, several of whom have been humanely euthanized as a direct result of their extreme neglect and untreated medical conditions. There are still others whose conditions are guarded. The horses, many of whom were very thin and badly malnourished, were dehydrated and had languished without basic health or hoof care for months. All needed vaccinations and dental care. Nearly all were infected with lice and in need of grooming. A small number of the horses were mustangs who had never even been touched by humans.
The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, which receives no state or federal funding, has provided all of the horses with basic veterinary evaluations. Most are now fully vaccinated, have been treated for parasites, and have been deloused. Many have received initial hoof trims. Each horse has an individualized feed program and receives daily handling from MSSPA staff or volunteers. The cost of care for the herd over just the first 45 days at the shelter totals many thousands of dollars.
The mission of the MSSPA, currently in its 149 year of continuous operation, is to provide refuge, rehabilitation, and placement of seized equines; support the placement of surrenders, and educate the public. Its vision is the elimination of equine abuse and neglect. Its small staff is supplemented by a vibrant volunteer corps, including resident women from the Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center. We also look forward to finding forever homes for these and most of our horses through our adoption program.
Visit MSSPA.org to learn more and donate.