2008-11-26 / Front Page

Horse found wandering loses his fight for life

NJSPCA investigating potential abandonment
BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer

MILLSTONE — The old veteran lost his battle.

McCain, a horse named by Helping Hearts Equine Rescue founder Lisa Post because he was found wandering loose in Manalapan Township around Veterans Day, died Nov. 19.

Although he had seemed well that morning, one of the workers at Post's Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center told her that the horse was down in his stall around noon and could not get back up on his feet. Veterinarian Eli Perris was already on his way to the farm, and he and others managed to get the horse on his feet again. However, McCain remained shaky and weak and would fall again if not held up, so Post made the decision to humanely euthanize him.

Manalapan Animal Control Officer Sharon Gaboff, a Millstone resident, had answered a call on the morning of Nov. 13 about a loose horse on Dey Grove Road. Gaboff said two local residents caught the horse, which had no halter on, and put him in a paddock.

"I was shocked at the condition of the horse," she said.

The animal was emaciated and his hipbones stuck out like coat racks. Gaboff made inquiries about the horse at local farms, but no one knew him and there had not been any reports of missing horses.

Because of McCain's poor condition, Gaboff did not think he could have wandered very far, and speculated that he may have been dumped in the area. She contacted Post, and had the horse brought to Post's farm, where she runs the rescue in addition to her lessons and boarding stable.

Dr. Mike Ostner, of Dey Associates in Upper Freehold, examined the horse that day, and estimated the pinto gelding to be between 20 and 30 years old. Post said he was covered in manure on his left side, with open sores on his protruding bones. Despite his condition, his heart and respiration were within normal parameters, although lung sounds on the left side were indicative of pneumonia, according to Post.

McCain had been under veterinary treatment for the week he was at the rescue, and Post said she thought he was going to make it.

"Poor old man, at least he had seven days of being warm, dry, with a full belly and lots of affection," Post said.

The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals continues to investigate the potential abandonment of McCain. Anyone with information should contact Gaboff at 732-489-1717.

Helping Hearts Equine Rescue recently rescued another horse that was in danger of being sent to slaughter. Simon, as he has been dubbed, is a Belgian draft horse that arrived at the rescue Nov. 18.

Donations for the rescue may be sent to Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, 260 Millstone Road, Perrineville, NJ, 08535, or by calling 732-786-9015.

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