Thursday, September 24, 2020

Vehicle Accident injures several horses 8-14-20


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2 year old filly, one of several hit by a vehicle 7-27-20

On Monday, July 27, while I was out feeding the rescue’s equines I got a call from one of our adopters, Jake, who is a sergeant with the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department (NCSO). He was being dispatched to Summer Pines, the last housing development south of Show Low on Hwy 60 before FS300 (Rim Rd) because there was an injured horse that had been hit by a vehicle roaming the streets and was yet unsure what he would find, but wanted to know if we were available. I mentioned we had a dart gun if needed and also referred him to our contacts at AZ Dept of Ag, Livestock division because I was pretty sure it was a free roaming horse, perhaps one of them we provided water for around the Torreon area. When he arrived on scene he sent me a photo, which I forwarded to a friend who photographs the free-roaming horse near her house and she was able to find a photo of this filly from 2019, when she looked to be a yearling. Now we knew she was not a horse off the reservation and thus under the jurisdiction of local agencies. We were contracted to go assist in her capture and transport to the vet.

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Her left side took most of the impact and caused internal and external injuries.

When we arrived we found her standing, pawing the ground and in shock. She had large injuries to her left side and smaller injuries all over. It appeared on impact with the vehicle she must have been flipped over based on all the wounds. It took several people, several hours to sedate, catch and get her loaded in the trailer to be taken to the vet. Sadly, she had internal injuries and was humanely euthanized by the vet.

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Jake injured standing in the forest with the small herd.

During this process we learned it was a small herd of 5 horses that had gotten hit and there were others that needed assistance. One of which turned out to be a gelding with a BLM freeze brand. This required input from yet another agency, already the National Forest Service, AZDA (AZ Dept of Ag) were involved with NCSO as the lead agency, now the BLM (Bureau of Land Mgt) needed to be contacted to confirm whether they still owned the mustang or if it had been titled to an individual and no longer under their jurisdiction.

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Injury to Jake's shoulder from the vehicle impact.

After several hours in the 90+ degree sun and nothing more we could do at the time we headed home but stayed in contact with everyone. A family offered to place the horse in their backyard while ownership was determined so they could treat his wounds.

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On Wednesday, July 29th, the gelding was delivered to the rescue after the individual he was titled to denied ownership so he was determined to be a stray horse that had been roaming loose in the forest giving AZDA complete jurisdiction to deal with him. We knew he was coming and were prepared to treat his injuries even though they were two days old. (The white around the wound is cream to keep the flies away.)

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Dr. Helzer arrived and after 2.5 hours of surgery he was stitched up as well as he could be with the size of the injury and extent of the swelling. He was immediately administered pain meds and started on antibiotics and a treatment plan established.

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Stitching complete after initial surgery

Had he not been able to come to us he would have been taken to a local auction house, put in a pen to stand untreated for at least 7 days, when he could be auctioned as a stray horse. That 7 days is to allow the owner time to claim the horse and if not claimed, by law they must be auctioned. As a newer vendor for AZDA, EqWBR could house him instead and he could be auctioned at our place if unclaimed

Jake and Christine by Leslie Brucker 8-4-20

Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography

We treated his wounds several times a day and monitored his condition. In addition to the obvious injuries he also had impact bruising so it helped ease his pain to massage those areas a few times a day also. We assisted Dr. H as he had a second surgery to remove skin flaps that were dying off as the huge wound started to heal, additional surgery would be needed and more tissue died.

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Jake after his 3rd surgery 8-10-20

On Monday, August 10th, Rudy Mejia, the initial responding brand inspector and Kevin Mc Fee both arrived to auction off the mustang. Flyers had been posted in the area of the hit and run, and local post offices and no one had stepped forward to claim him. With a few volunteers gathered in support and no one else showing up, we bid on and purchased the mustang allowing him to remain in our care so he could continue his treatment and heal. Shortly after Dr. H arrived for his 3rd surgery to remove the larger surrounding skin so the wound could continue to heal, a process that will take another 6-8 weeks for the surface to close and then longer for it to fully heal.

Jake by Leslie Brucker 8-4-20

Photo by Leslie Brucker Photography

Meet Jake, we named him after the NCSO Sergeant that stuck with the situation, working with all the various agencies to help the horse get the needed care after being struck by a vehicle which left the scene never calling in to even say there was an accident. He is now safely with us where we can continue his care and give him much needed love as he heals. And yes, he does have a Khaki halter.
So far, his medical expenses for 3 surgeries, pain and antibiotic medicines, topical treatments and other needs are in excess of $1400 and we are asking for donations to cover those expenses and provide for him into the future while he heals. It is clear to us from the time he has been here that he has been trained at least with the basics of haltering, being handled and such and he has the sweetest personality and patience as we treat his wounds numerous times a day.

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Jake in the forest before being hit by a vehicle, a photo sent to me.

There are many things we don’t have answers to, why he was turned loose in the forest, who hit the horses and kept going, where was he originally gathered from (Herd Management Area)? Some questions we will be able to answer in time, others we will probably never know. In the meantime, this guy needs us and we are here for him with great thanks to all the agencies that worked together to help him.

You can help too by sharing his needs and donating if possible. Together we can teach him to trust again, heal his wounds and give him the love and care he needs and deserves. You can donate by clicking the Donate button below for links to PayPal, Venmo, Debit/Credit Card and donations by check. We can’t thank you enough for helping us help him.

He will never be abandoned and left to fend for himself again!!!!

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