State nurses horses back to health, makes them available for adoption | News

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Several rescued horses, no longer malnourished and neglected, are available for adoption, according to Connecticut’s attorney general.

Attorney General William Tong and Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt announced on Thursday that the state secured custody of eight horses seized from Laurel Ledge Farm in Oakdale. After extensive medical care and rehabilitation at the state’s Second Chance Large Animal Rehabilitation Program in Niantic, Tong and Hurlburt said the horses were healthy enough to be adopted.

Tong’s office, acting on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, said it moved for permanent custody of the neglected horses last month. Their owner, Michelle R. Wilson, agreed to relinquish custody.

“We are fortunate that this story has a happy ending, but these horses should never have suffered in this way,” Tong said. “State assistance is available through the Department of Agriculture, and animal owners in need should seek help immediately, long before legal action becomes necessary. I want to thank the expert caretakers at the Second Chance Large Animal Rehabilitation Program for truly giving these beautiful horses a second chance at a loving and happy life.”

“Finding suitable homes for each of these horses is our highest priority,” Hurlburt said. “They have already endured the unthinkable and deserve to be loved unconditionally.”

The state first secured temporary custody of nine horses from Laurel Ledge Farm in Sept. 2020. Eight of the nine horses recovered in state care in the Second Chance program. One of the horses continued to deteriorate following the seizure and had to be euthanized.

The horses up for adoption are named Tristan, Regal, Avadon, Ember, Cabot, Sullivan, Sebastian, and Bailey. Two other horses previously seized and in state custody in an unrelated case are also up for adoption. To be considered, interested parties should fill out an application form, specifying which horse they seek. Potential adopters will be thoroughly vetted through a background check and site visit to verify adequate facilities. All adopters will be required to sign an agreement. For more information, click here.

The state action was triggered by a complaint from Montville Animal Control which reported extremely underweight horses. State animal authorities unsuccessfully urged Wilson to consult with an equine veterinarian and to provide medical care. Equine veterinarians found all suffered from neglected dental care, and three were in obvious and significant dental pain. All nine horses lacked proper hoof care, including a severe bacterial infection in one. Three of the nine horses needed extreme and immediate hoof care. Eight of the nine horses had some degree of lameness, and two were severely lame and in obvious pain. Several were malnourished, some severely so.

The Department of Agriculture said it recognizes the hardship experienced by many animal owners due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, including job loss resulting in financial instability. Additionally, severe drought throughout much of the state in 2020 limited available grazing during the summer months and negatively impacted the production of feed, including hay. The agency has compiled a directory of hay resources, as well as COVID-19 resources, which are available at Livestock and domestic animal owners are encouraged to reach out if additional assistance is needed. 

Wilson was charged with nine counts of cruelty to animals. The criminal matter is pending in Norwich Superior Court.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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