Horse Rescues

 Idylwood Retirement Boarding  

Jona's story 

Undoubtedly, my last case was my biggest.  From several standpoints.  Not only did I confiscate a bunch of horses, this guy also had a pig, several goats, a couple of sheep and a llama.  This case got  A LOT of press time, both in the newspapers and on the radio.  Partially because it was December (2002), and we were having awful weather - really cold, with snow and ice storms.  It just couldn't get any better.  A bunch of starved animals, so they have no body fat, and it's super cold, with snow and ice coming.  What made this case so big, though, was the fact that this guy wasn't giving theses animals any WATER!  Now, this is something John Q. Public really understands.  Not feeding them, ok, they can eat grass in the field.  People never see that as being such a big deal.  But not giving them water, (and there was NO natural water source on the property, such as a creek, stream or pond,) THIS people understand.  Without water you die.  Yea.  I know.    The dehydration level on the horses was just scary.  Now, like anybody needs more reasons to love Firemen, I will give you one.  Rusty is a fireman.  Rusty is the one who found out about these horses and farm animals on this place.  Rusty immediately called us.  But more than that.  From the minute he found these guys, he went and got the fire truck to give them water.  Pretty cool.  We don't find guys like him very often.  People that will DO something, and do it right away.

Rusty delivering water to the horses.  Not one of the containers here had a single drop of water in it when he first arrived.


Now, when the call first came in, about these horses and a few other animals not being cared for, I, of course, responded right away.  What I wasn't prepared for was arriving on the scene to first see a DEAD horse. 

 Nothing really prepares you for that.  So, immediately  I know I've got a good case against this guy.  I confiscate the all the animals, and impound them on the property (here in Clarke county , animal control does not have facilities for large, agricultural animals.)  The whole place was scary.  It never ceases to amaze me how these people who don't care for their horses,  put them in these fields loaded with old barbed wire on the ground, wire running loose and unmarked everywhere, all kinds of construction material laying around, and their horses never have a scratch!  If my horses were here, can you say "Big vet bill for lots of stitches." ?   As I fully examined the situation, I discovered this little Appaloosa filly kept in a back lot, wired off from the rest of the horses, a  yearling, Shetland pony stallion with her. Oh my!  The condition of these two were worst of all. Those of you familiar with the Henneke scale for grading horses condition, I graded the App a 1, only because she was actually breathing.  The Shetland came in at a 2.  It was basically a dry lot, so they had no access to any field, like the other horses.  These guys had become so desperate for food, they literally stripped the bark off every tree they could reach, including the cedar!  They also stripped wood off the fence posts.  Unbelievable.

So here we go. Now I've got to turn all of my attention on the horses, but particularly the App filly.  You can see why -

         Jona was in pretty bad shape.  As you can see, it had snowed.

We were doing everything we could to get that little filly going, when, things just went from bad to worse.

Jona fell down.

Just look at her.  This was a horse that had given up.  But, thankfully, I ran several acres over to the neighbors house, and got him to come over to help pull her up.  Which we did.  Yeaaaa!!!   Until...... a couple of days later, she went down again.  And this time, with all of us trying, we could not get her up.  Got the vets out.  We put fluids in her, they gave her shots, we tried everything.  She would not get up.  So, the vets said if she was still down in the morning, to euthanize her.  Ok.  I immediately go to the office and start calling other vets, because somebody is going to come up with something.  No such luck.  Every vet I talked to said to euthanize her.    I went home that night, literally racking my brains to come up with an idea that would save this little app.  What do I do?  Go to the internet.  Search 'Nez Perce Indians' and contact them.  I am willing to use ANY force, any power, any belief, whatever it takes, I will use it, if its going to save a horses' life.  I asked them to pray for her.  And, to give her a name.  The next morning I get a call from Rusty.  He has designed a sling, which he will use on the filly, in his barn.  He will feed her and take care of her. Would that be ok?  Ya think!  Let's see.  Euthanize on one side   -      a chance to live on the other.  Sure, Rusty, I think that will be just fine.    

  Jona  December 13, 2002

There she is! You know, what's funny, is that she NEVER fought the sling. She just went right along with it.

Now, the next day, I get a response back from the Nez Perce.

Do I believe in coincidences?  Not in this case.  She got a name = she got a life. 

Jona did nothing but gain weight after that.  She improved really rapidly, but again, I can put a lot of that on Rusty's shoulders, because he fed her every three hours, around the clock.   And since she actually needed to lay down at night, to give her a break from the sling, he did that too, every night.

Look at her progress:

December 28, 2002      LOOK!  She's standing  ON HER OWN!  

       You can sure see the difference that just being 'hydrated' makes.    


By the way, Yes, I won my case against this man.  Although, at the first court hearing, he actually told me before we walked into the courtroom, that the judge was going to 'order' me to give his horses back.  I was 'out of my mind' if I believed the judge was going to go along with my case.  He was convinced of it.  Do you think he figured out he was in trouble when the judges' face clearly showed dismay and disbelief that some of the animals were even still alive, because the first picture the judge saw was that of the dead horse.  After the first hearing he changed his tune - a lot!  But, by that point, there was nothing he could do to save himself.  He was found guilty of cruelty to animals, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, here in Virginia.  The Judge also took away his right to own animals, indefinitely.  


January 2003



February 2003



She looks so much better here.  Just 8 weeks later.  Wow!



                                                   Jona today, with 2 of her friends.  See, she is fat!




Now, the other thing Jona has today is - attitude ! ! !  I'm serious - for a little horse that was at death's door, she now is "it" girlfriend.  We'll start working her in a round pen this spring.  She is just halter broke.  No one ever did anything else with her.  Not like I would have expected her last owner to be a man who would take time to train her - right.  But she apparently had no training before he got her - which was at a local auction, by the way. 




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