Mississippi Judge Allows Horse Herd Rescue

A herd of horses is receiving rehabilitative care after a Mississippi judge granted a rescue group temporary custody of the animals.

Doll Stanley, director of the Hope Animal Sanctuary, in Grenada, Miss.—which is operated by the national nonprofit organization In Defense of Animals—said her organization learned of 26 horses residing in a Yalobusha County, Miss., pasture last November. In February, Hope Animal Sanctuary personnel began feeding the animals and, on Feb. 25, a Yalobusha County Court judge approved the animals' removal and granted temporary custody to the sanctuary, Stanley said.

Hope Animal Sanctuary personnel subsequently removed 19 allegedly malnourished horses from the pasture, Stanley said. Another two horses were left on the property, pending a veterinarian's decision about their conditions, she said.

“One cannot be trailered, is in horrible shape, and (likely) needs to be euthanized,” Stanley said. “The other horse is blind from what looks like eye disease—not injury—and we will either move her or she will be euthanized depending on the (vet's) decision on her condition, potential for wellness, and quality of life.”

The carcasses of six other horses were also found on the property, Stanley said.

Currently, the surviving horses are in foster care under Hope Animal Sanctuary auspices.

Stanley said the horses were the property of an out-of-state owner who'd placed the animals in a relative's care. The owner's and relative's names have been withheld.

Whoever is responsible for the horses has eight business days to reclaim the animals and, ultimately, those responsible could face animal cruelty charges, Stanley said.

“(Mississippi) state statutes governing horses can be stiff if you can prove intent to harm; if not it will be a simple misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $100 per horse,” Stanley said. “Right now, the important thing is the horses' care and to obtain permanent custody of the horses.”

Charges in the case remain pending.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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