Help is needed for horses as investigation continues

December 05, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

SHARPSBURG - Hay, halters, lead ropes, water troughs and other supplies are needed to care for about 50 horses at a Sharpsburg farm where officials are investigating possible animal cruelty and neglect.

"These horses need food now," said Katherine Cooker, the Humane Society of Washington County's manager of development and community relations.

Workers from the local and national Humane Society, workers from Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Howard County, Md., veterinarians and others on Monday evaluated and cared for about 50 horses that remained at Windrinker Farm, said Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County.

No charges had been filed by Monday against the farm's owner, who remained under investigation, Miller said.

The local Humane Society is working closely with the Washington County Office of the State's Attorney, he said.

Miller said the 35-acre property at 4040 Mills Road was seized Saturday afternoon after a complaint was made about a dead horse. The owner is not allowed on the property, he said.


Workers found 74 horses, one dead horse lying in a field, three horses buried in a hole and the skeletal remains of five carcasses on the property, he said.

Twenty-four horses were removed from the property for medical care, he said, and one died while in transport.

Miller said the local Humane Society received complaints over the past three years about the farm, but whenever animal control officers went to the farm to check out a complaint, the owner would "try to rectify it."

He said workers didn't see the multitude of horses in the past.

They found Saturday that many of the stallions were not castrated, he said, adding that he suspected many of the mares were pregnant, the possible result of inbreeding.

Miller said "there are still a lot of questions" about the conditions of the horses. Most of the horses are underweight and have cuts, abrasions and infections, Miller said. Not a lot of feed was found on the farm.

"There are a lot of things that can cause thinness. Was it their teeth, parasites ....?" Miller said.

He said about four veterinarian teams have evaluated and logged the horses' medical conditions.

Complicating their care, there are some horses that "cannot be touched" because they were not socialized, Miller said.

Miller said money and supplies are needed to sustain the horses.

Miller said "hay is on the top of the list," but "money is the best." He said workers need 100-gallon to 175-gallon troughs, lead ropes, halters, portable corrals, horse trailers and other supplies.

"There was nothing there," Cooker said.

She said the City of Hagerstown Water Department donated water and the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. transported it. Tractor Supply Co. donated money, she said.

If you want to help

The Humane Society of Washington County is accepting donations to help about 50 horses at a Sharpsburg farm.

People who want to donate supplies should call Katherine Cooker at 301-733-2060, ext. 237.

People who want to donate money should call Karen Swain at 301-733-2060, ext. 206.

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