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Miniature horses seized in Chambersburg

Animal cruelty officer urges animal owners to give animals access to water, shelter

July 21, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — An animal cruelty officer in Franklin County, Pa., said he has been encountering overheated animals without access to water, including five miniature horses seized in the Chambersburg area Wednesday.

The four male and one female horses were lying on ground that registered 133 degrees with an infrared thermometer, according to Buck Hessler, a humane society police officer with the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter.

He is consulting with the Franklin County (Pa.) District Attorney's Office about filing citations against the horse's owner for improper shelter, tethering and unavailability of water.

It wasn't Hessler's first visit to the property on Boyer Mill Road in Hamilton Township, Pa., he said.

"I've been working with these people for two months to say, 'Make sure you get enough water to these horses and get shelter to the horses,'" Hessler said Thursday. "The last thing I wanted to do was take the horses."

A passer-by who saw the miniature horses in the direct sunlight Wednesday alerted a Pennsylvania state trooper, who contacted Hessler. The animals were taken to another farm to recover and spent six hours at a salt lick.

Hessler said he's been getting six to eight calls a week about animals without access to shade or water.

"Most people have been cooperative with moving them in the house, moving them into the shade or getting them water," Hessler said.

A lot of people say they didn't think about the heat's effects on the animals outside, he said.

A representative of the Antietam Humane Society in southern Franklin County said that agency has received only a few complaints of animals exposed to the heat.

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Heat tips for animals  

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary George Greig offered additional tips for helping pets and livestock animals including cows, horses, pigs, sheep and others deal with the heat:


  • Provide shade — Move animals to shaded pens if possible.
  • Provide water — As temperatures rise, animals need to consume more water. Spraying animals with water can also help them to cool down, using a sprinkler that provides large droplets.
  • Avoid overworking livestock — It's safest to work with cattle early in the morning when their body temperatures are low. In addition, routine livestock-management procedures such as vaccination, hoof trimming and dehorning should be postponed until the weather cools.
  • Avoid unnecessary transportation — If cattle must be moved, try to do so in the late evening or early morning hours.
  • Take dogs for early-morning or late-evening walks, when temperatures are cooler.
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