RICHMOND, Va. — Inside the former barn for the Richmond Police Mounted Patrol, four of the newest additions to Richmond Animal Care and Control are on the mend.
"We're really grateful that we were able to step in and help," said RACC Director Christie Chipps Peters of the four horses is now caring for. "This barn really isn't a long term space. It's perfect for this kind of a situation just because there's no pasture, there's no grass, and so, for horses that are trying not to colic, it's perfect. Because, we have to keep them stabled and eating slowly. And so, for respite care, it's the perfect spot."
The four horses they are looking after are part of a much larger statewide effort to help around 100 horses — all thoroughbreds — seized from a Shenandoah County farm last week where officials said they were malnourished and kept in poor conditions.
"I got a call, like five o'clock at night on Thursday, from a friend of ours that is in the animal rescue world and said, 'Hey, there's something big going down in Shenandoah, can you take some horses?'…They had arrived and it was way worse than what they anticipated ad so, it was a more immediate situation to remove them," said Chipps Peters. "That started a huge operation of connections within the horse rescue world to try and help."
Chipps Peters said RACC asked for the horses in the worst condition because they had the facility to treat them and were sent the following four (which RACC has named):
- Daffodil, 13, who used to be a racing horse named "Kentucky Melody". Chipps Peters said "she is very sweet and loving. She's got some issues with her knees and her legs. She's just going to be a pasture friend. So not rideable, just a pet."
- Nutmeg, 4, who was sent to a vet clinic for additional treatment on Friday and should be returned to the barn Monday.
- Julie, 10, who also raced, but RACC is still trying to learn her history. "She might be rideable, she's the boss of the group," said Chipps Peters.
- Baby June, 2-3. "She is so sweet and we love her. She is [in] the worst [condition]. She's the most critical," said Chipps Peters.
Chipps Peters said Daffodil and Julie could be ready for adoption this week, while the other two might need a few weeks of care.
"We have them on a very restricted, regulated program to help them grow and not colic and croak and everything will be great."
Chipps Peters said RACC is also helping other municipal shelters that took some horses with the costs through their Tommie Fund and asks anyone wishing to help the horses to donate to that fund.
"Horses are very expensive and they rack up the bills really quickly."
As for herself, a lifelong rider, Chipps Peters said the situation has been heartbreaking.
"I don't know how anyone acquires that many horses and acquires them in a way where they're not able to provide for them. And so, it's always a sad situation, seeing neglect in any animal. I have a special spot for horses in my heart and so, it is a little bit tougher," she added. "But, it's also really wonderful in the way that these organizations and communities have stepped up to help them and the support that we have received and the support that everyone has been shown in collectively saving their lives. It's been really inspirational."
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