Malnourished horse at horse auction

December 8th, 2007 one of PEARL's volunteers called from a sale barn in Georgia. She had bought a mare she said was a walking skeleton and asked if she could donate it to PEARL. Given the sale had taken place and the distress of our volunteer we accepted this mare. Our volunteer asked the seller how this mare could have been allowed to become this starved. The seller allegedly responded that she had only had this mare for two days. She stated that she traded some hay for the mare. The seller was unwilling to discuss this matter further with our volunteer.

The following is what allegedly occurred at the sales office. When the buyer went to the office to get copies of the negative coggins test she noticed that the age on the test results was listed as 1 year old. She handed it back and stated the mare was run through the sale as a 12 year old. The woman at the sales office rummaged through her records and handed that test back stating that was the correct test for this horse. The buyer requested the sellers name and address and loaded the mare. The mare arrived at the rehabilitation farm at 11:20 PM.

Dr. Keith Stafford of Stafford Equine Veterinary Services in Pendleton, SC arrived at the farm at 8:00 the next morning. He gave the mare a body score of a 1. Her temperature, pulse, capillary refill time and respiration were all surprisingly normal given her condition. A heart murmur was detected however in starvation cases this is not unusual. PEARL was given a feed program and instructions and while filling out the paperwork it was noted that not only did the age not match but the marking on the coggins test results did not match the marking of this mare. When we compared the sellers name and the name on the negative coggins test we found they appeared to be the same address. Dr. Stafford went back to his truck and pulled a blood sample for a coggins test. We have requested that the results be faxed to Dr. Stafford ASAP.

The Georgia department of Agriculture has been contacted and given the sales barn name and the name of the seller that supplied an obviously incorrect coggins. We are forwarding the paperwork to them along with the sellers name and address, pictures of the mare, and Doctor Stafford's report. We fully expect both sales barn and seller will be held accountable.

She has been secluded as far away as from all other horses on the farm. So far she has well formed and moist manure and has urinated several times. We cannot believe this mare is still standing, let alone alert.

We hope that all buyers will be aware of possible false paperwork at these sales. Given the cost of hay and feed we expect a lot more of this. PEARL's mission is to assist law enforcement with seizures and serve as assistance for them when seizures take place. We stepped outside our box for this horse because the situation required immediate action.

Update - 1 year later...

What a difference a year makes! After two months or so of care and feeding she was adopted and named Tess. Her new owner continued to rehabilitate her, and began to ride her once she was healthy again. Tess and her owner have won some ribbons at the summer horse shows, and here's a picture of Tess in the 2008 Pendleton Christmas Parade.