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Colorado animal rehab center nurses almost 80 neglected horses after major surrender

Colorado animal rehab center nurses almost 80 neglected horses after major surrender
Colorado animal rehab center nurses almost 80 neglected horses after major surrender 02:09

An animal rehabilitation center in Franktown is asking for financial help after a major surrender of neglected horses. Of the dozens brought in last week, the Harmony Equine Center estimates at least 80% will need weeks or months of care.  

"It's the worst case I've ever seen," said Bobbi Priestly, Director of Harmony Equine Center.  

The equine center, a branch of the Dumb Friends League, brought in the horses on July 7 after conducting an investigation and then negotiating with the owners. Originally, 78 horses were surrendered. At least one has since given birth.  

"I would estimate about 80% of this herd are either ill, geriatric and starved, lame with irreversible joint diseases and things like that," said Dr. Courtney Diehl, an equine veterinarian at Harmony. "It's like a who's who of a veterinarian's worst nightmare of medical problems within this group."  

While getting the horses to the property was one thing, the real work for Diehl and her colleagues begins now. That includes treating emaciation and diseases, and even operating on some. 


"She just had her eye removed," Diehl said about one horse with a bandage on its head. "She had a puncture injury and a very severe infection to that left eye and was in a lot of pain." 

It's an undertaking unlike any director Bobbi Priestly has overseen.  

"We do this quite often," Priestly said. "It doesn't stop once we get the horses here. The care is consistent for months because a lot of these horses are going to take a long time to recover."  

It'll also take a lot of money. Priestly estimates they'll need at least $175,000 for food and medical care. 

"It's been great so far," she said. "People have really stepped up, but this doesn't just end this next week. Long-term care is needed for these horses." 

While not every horse will make it to the finish line, many could get a second chance at life and be adopted later on.  

"I swear if they could talk, they would say thank you, and some of them do," Diehl said.  

According to Diehl, it's ultimately about what's best for each horse.  

"It's fair to medically manage some of these horses. It's unfair to try to manage others," she said. "I'm very satisfied with our level of care and our ability to care for each animal individually." 

The Harmony Equine Center is asking for donations from the public to help with the continued care of these horses.  

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