Rescue groups care for Zuni animals

Published 8:29 am Friday, January 30, 2009

ZUNI—Many of the horses and dogs that were removed last week from a farm near Zuni are being cared for by a pair of non-profit organizations in the region, with the hope of eventually rehabilitating the horses and offering the dogs up for adoption.

On Jan. 21, authorities removed more than 20 horses and 31 dogs from Meadows Quarter Horse Farm, located on Sand Pit Road, after receiving calls from concerned citizens that the animals were living in squalid conditions.

Susan White, director of the Richmond region of the United States Equine Rescue League, said league members in the Tidewater region are caring for 14 of the horses, while another 10 are receiving care in the Richmond region.

“The USERL also participated with Animal Control and the state veterinarians in the removal and transport of the horses, and all of the horses are under our care,” White said.

According to White, the 10 horses in the Richmond area “are in very poor condition.”

“Many are emaciated, and some have severe lameness issues due to lack of care and from being housed in several inches of muck for many months (and) years, causing deformed legs and feet,” White said.

The USERL relies on donations from the public to rehabilitate the horses they take in. Some of the expenses include veterinarian and farrier bills, medicine, feed and hay.

“Without the donations, it is very difficult for us to help horses in need,” White said.

Meanwhile, the group SEVA GRREAT — Southeastern Virginia Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training Inc. — has taken in an undisclosed number of golden retriever dogs from the farm.

“We currently have a number of these dogs in our foster care system, and more will be arriving soon,” the group said on its Web site. “Each dog has been seen by a vet and has begun any necessary medical treatments. The dogs will be in foster care for a period of time before they are available for adoption.”

According to its Web site, SEVA GRREAT has rescued more than 400 golden retrievers since its founding in 1990.

Authorities have not filed charges against the farm’s owners, but Isle of Wight County Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps said last week that there was a “strong possibility” some charges might eventually be filed. The incident remains under investigation.

Phelps could not be reached for comment Thursday.