Emaciated, neglected horses found on farm in Cape Fear Region

Emaciated, neglected horses found on farm in Cape Fear Region

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Several groups have joined forces to help horses needing critical care.

Quarter horse mares were surrendered to Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary in Willard on Thursday by a local animal control agency. They are part of an ongoing investigation in the Cape Fear region, so no details are available on where they came from.

According to Jewell Horton, a consultant for the rescue, these horses have been nutritionally deprived and have a long road to recovery.

Emaciated horses cared for at Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary
Emaciated horses cared for at Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary (Source: Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary)

The horses are under quarantine at Horton’s Rehab Ranch LLC awaiting results on some tests to come back.

“These are four of the nicest mares you will ever meet. They are in a critical period of their recovery as the reintroduction of quality feeds and forage, despite being a necessity, can also be deadly,” said Horton.

The four mares — Rita, Pip, Baby and Zippy — have been nicknamed the Golden Girls because they’re all considered senior horses. They age in range from the mid-teens to mid-twenties.

“Despite the condition they’re in, they’re doing pretty good,” Horton said. “These horses would probably rate as some of the worst I’ve ever seen and some of them are about average for what we see."

The horses are about 400 pounds underweight. They should be around 1,100 pounds and currently weigh about 700 lbs.

“While we can’t discuss the situation surrounding them, we want people to know there are resources available to you to prevent these situations. Horses are incredibly complex animals to rehabilitate and we would much rather assist in preventing these situations than having to assist in rehabilitating them. These horses all required dental floatings yesterday which allows them to chew, grind and digest what food they are getting properly. When that doesn’t occur regularly, the simple act of eating alone can be so painful they stop eating. Compile that with incomplete diets and/or competing for rations and situations like this occur,” said Horton. “Owning healthy horses is expensive. Rehabilitating horses is four times as costly, and rescues like Penderosa cannot help horses like these mares without financial assistance from the public.”

Emaciated horses cared for at Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary
Emaciated horses cared for at Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary (Source: Penderosa Rescue and Sanctuary)

Horton estimates the expenses will be about $100 per week per horse. It could be upwards of six months before they’re ready for adoption and that’s assuming there are no major medical complications.

“It’s really up to them and God as to whether or not they can pull through it,” Horton said.

The rescue has already incurred over $1,000 in charges in just 24 hours for their care.

On Monday, Horton’s announced on Facebook that two more horses — an Appaloosa gelding and mule gelding — were brought to the rehab ranch.

Donations for feed can be paid directly to B & K General Store in Burgaw at 910-259-5200; or donations for their vet bill can be paid directly to Reagan Equine in Wilmington at 910-792-6001.

Penderosa Rescue & Sanctuary can be found on Facebook and donations can be made via their website

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