Search Under Way for 22 Horses Swept Away by Irene

Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene passed through Schorharie County, N.Y., the owner of 22 horses swept away during the storm is hoping to recover his animals.

On Aug. 28, 22 Thoroughbred stallions, mares, and foals belonging to breeder Leland Neff went missing, and were presumably swept away in flood waters, said Debi Metcalfe of Stolen Horse International. The missing herd also includes a Welsh Pony and two Paint horses, and four other horses made it out of the water to safety, she said.

"Leland is devastated," Metcalfe said. "There has been no sign of the missing horses."

Since the incident, Neff and volunteers have been searching for the animals, but post-storm conditions are hindering their progress, Metcalfe said.

"It's still a mess," Metcalfe said. "The floodwaters haven't gone down all the way, roads there aren't passable, and there's a lot of debris."

Meanwhile, because the area is largely without electric service, news about the missing animals may not have reached those who might have seen the horses or who might be able to assist in the search for them.

As a result, Metcalfe is urging those in Schorharie County, especially those who reside downriver along the Schoharie Creek, to download and print the flyer pertaining to the animals posted on the NetPosse website at, and post it in local convenient stores, gas stations, and other high traffic locations.

"If the flyers are posted, people will see them," Metcalfe said. "Whatever we find, we hope we find something that gives Leland some closure."

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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