Animal-control officers say they will need money to return to a Nebraska property where about 90 distressed horses remain.
Authorities rescued nine starving horses Thursday from a 100-acre property near Petersburg, in Boone County. They are quarter horses and Arabian cross horses.
The Nebraska Humane Society said it is trying to raise money to return to the property, rescue the other horses and rehabilitate them.
Officials said they saw about 100 horses there Thursday — some emaciated, others with open sores and some dead.
Kristie Biodrowski, field director for the Humane Society, called the conditions “a hoarding situation.''
In such cases, “you're going to see animals at various stages of neglect.”
Biodrowski said the property apparently had once been a pasture but had become a barren dirt field.
The horses “had eaten down every available blade of grass,” she said. One hundred acres “sounds like a lot of land, but when you have that many animals, you just can't sustain them,” she said.
The Boone County Sheriff's Office said the property is owned by Jim Majerus of Petersburg. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
The horses were quarantined at a temporary holding facility in Blair. A veterinarian examined the animals Friday.
“There's a scale for the horses to kind of judge how thin that they are — 9 being obese, 5 is average or kind of ideal, and 1 is emaciated,'' Biodrowski said. “These guys (horses) are about at a 2. It is pretty severe.''
It wasn't the first time authorities were called to Majerus' property.
Sheriff David Spiegel said deputies had gone there numerous times over the years to deal with stray animals.
In December, Boone County Board members discussed problems with Majerus' horses and cattle straying from the property and causing traffic problems.
Pam Wiese, a Humane Society spokeswoman, said officials were looking for foster and adoptive families for the horses.
The Humane Society is working to rehabilitate the nine horses in its care — an expensive process that can take between 10 days and four weeks. Veterinarians will check for contagious diseases common in animals that have been neglected.
Biodrowski said because of feed and veterinarian costs, it takes thousands of dollars per horse to rehabilitate them to “an adoptable condition.”
The Humane Society doesn't know when it will return to Majerus' property, but officials hope to raise enough money to care for the nine horses and to help the other distressed horses, Biodrowski said.
Until then, she said, they are focusing on the nine that were rescued.
“Love, food and vet care, and that's all they need for a new start in life,” she said.
For information on fostering or adopting a horse, contact Biodrowski at 402-905-3425.
Donations can also be made to the Nebraska Humane Society at www.nehumanesociety.org under the donation tab, or by calling Wiese at 402-905-3470.
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