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February 11, 2011

One Horse’s Inspiring Recovery after Arkansas Rescue

Uno with HSUS staff
Tara Loller/The HSUS
Uno with HSUS' Jill Fritz, Desiree Bender and Darci Adams.

Although HSUS staff members may deploy to rescue and care for as many as hundreds of animals in a single case of cruelty or neglect, they often come back with stories about one particular animal who captured the affections of the team. While every animal is important and receives attentive care, sometimes one animal becomes a symbol of all those we’re working to save.

In an ongoing Arkansas case, a horse named Uno has become a special favorite. Uno is a palomino mare neglected by a horse broker in Fulton County. Then in December 2010, she and 113 other horses were seized and transferred to a temporary shelter to be cared for by The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA.

Our Arkansas state director Desiree Bender, who has devoted much of her time since December to assisting with the case and providing food, water and grooming for the horses, sent this story about Uno.

When the horses were first seized, Uno was so emaciated and injured that rescuers weren’t sure she would make it. She had a fractured right shoulder that had healed badly, bite marks all over her body from other horses fighting over inadequate food and space, and a left eye that oozed greenish fluid. She was in desperate shape and had little hope for survival.

But with the dedicated care of rescue workers and veterinarians, Uno showed us that she has a huge heart and a strong will to survive. She has put on significant weight and her hair is growing back around her wounds. Her left eye is clear, though we’re not sure if she’ll recover vision on that side.

Perhaps most important of all, Uno’s love of people has recovered. She loves to be scratched on her left shoulder and will approach anyone who speaks a kind word to her. Her continuing recovery is nothing short of remarkable and inspires everyone who meets Uno.

After two months, the other horses from the Arkansas deployment are also recovering from illness, gaining weight and beginning to show their true personalities. Veterinarians provide for their medical needs while horse handlers work to socialize the horses. Amid freezing temperatures, a team checks on the horses each night and provides extra feed.

The owner has been charged with five counts of aggravated cruelty to a horse – a felony – in addition to 113 misdemeanor cruelty charges. We’re hoping that soon, the animals can be put up for adoption.

In the meantime, several of our staff will remain on the scene to care for the animals throughout the wintry weather. As you can see in this photo from local photographer Josh Dooley, the horses are enjoying themselves by playing in the falling snow.

Rescued horses in snowJosh Dooley

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