Animal Control officials in Queen Anne’s County, Md., rescued almost 150 malnourished and neglected horses, authorities said.
Thirteen were moved to a private farm in Washington County under the care of Days End Farm Horse Rescue. They're among the 146 horses that used to live at Canterbury Farms in Centreville.
All day Friday, animal control officers removed dozens of horses they call victims of neglect, likely getting no daily food, hay and water.
"They just weren't receiving this care, and it's not a one-month or a two-month, it's an extended period of time,” said Marci D’Alessio, a board member of Days End Farm Horse Rescue.
Canterbury Farms breeds Polish Arabian horses. They are expensive, high-end show horses. They are horses that weren’t selling.
Animal Control said the breeding got out of hand and two weeks ago six horses had to be euthanized.
Most of the remaining horses also suffer from rain rot resulting from being out in a field too often with no cover.
"The skin just peels off,” D’Alessio said.
That’s treated with medicated baths and daily grooming. Days End staff and volunteers are nursing the horses back to health. They eat five to eight times a day, but only small, mushy servings.
"Imagine if you hadn't eaten for two days and you get a Big Mac,” D’Alessio said. “You're not gonna feel good. So that will happen to them quickly."
Roughly 80 horses have been rescued and sent to private foster farms across Maryland. Caring for them could cost more than $1 million for six months. Days End Rescue, a non-profit, will need help.
"With the amount of horses that are here, we need people to groom, we need people to muck stalls, we need training people," D’Alessio said.
It could take six to eight months to get them back into a normal condition.
If you’d like to donate or learn how to volunteer with Days End Farm Horse Rescue, visit www.defhr.org.