Somewhere in Pennsylvania: Thursday’s York Dispatch ran a followup to an earlier story: about a “white” mare named Lily, found at the infamous New Holland auction in terrible shape, covered with paint, making it look like she had been shot with paintball guns (she was also very sore to the touch at those spots). The good news is Jon Stewart and family adopted her.
Jon and Tracey Stewart, You Are Worthy. (yes, that one, the Daily Show guy)
Lily’s backstory is the one which makes me want to whip out Mjolnir and smite heads. In fact, this one is far beyond Nerf Mjolnir territory, and requires Thor with Real Mjolnir. In Norse myth, he once wreaked havoc for someone breaking one of his goats (feast, goats eaten, “don’t break any bones”, taboo ignored, someone broke a bone, resurrected goat limped, Thor angry, don’t mess with thunder gods, they make Hulk look normal).
Lily appears to be an Arabian, or Arab cross (I’ve had a few of those). They’re hardy and long lived. She is not white but an aged grey, pale haired with dark around the eyes like mascara, and a dark little velvety nose. Actual white horses are ridiculously rare, most of the ones you see are really grey, they begin as a normal brownish/reddish/blackish horse color and get more white hairs until they appear white. They still have the black skin of most horses under the pale hairs, you can see it around the eyes and muzzle. Yes, I am a horse geek.
Thing One: You Never, EVER EVER take a horse to auction. NEVERNEVERNEVERNEVERNEVER. Did I shout that loud enough? I learned this as a kid in 4-H. Auctions (excepting the special ones for certain breeds) are a pit of meat dealers and abuse. You give the horse away, you find a good home, you send it to a rescue. Or you have it put down.
Thing Two: If you’ve run into financial problems and can’t take care of your animal, call the SPCA, your vet, get help. Sell your furniture, something.
Lily, according to the article, came from Doreen Weston’s Smoke Hollow Farm in Pittstown NJ. She says the horse is about 35 (insanely old, they live to about 30), and wanted to have her euthanized because her quality of life was so poor. I get that. I’ve had to call a vet and have any number of animals put down… it is never an easy decision.
The Moron Moment happens here when she calls a horse dealer, has an infirm animal loaded on a trailer (a hard enough thing for normal horses to ride in) and sent to friggin New $&^%#^$!@# Holland.
SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE SMASH SMITE!
Gee I hope someone throws you on a horse trailer when you feel like shit and drags you to a noisy horrible scary place for a few weeks…
No, what you actually do here is call the vet and have the animal humanely put down. You do not send it off for more abuse.
Ideally, you also call the vet and ask their opinion if there is anything you can do to improve the horse’s quality of life. I understand not having money. There are points where you go “nope, can’t do $3000 worth of surgery on a dying animal” and, like the Ice Queen says, let it go.
You never ever ever ship the critter off to an auction.
There was also some quip in the article about Ms. Weston assuming the horse dealer would euthanize the horse…
WAHT?!?!?!?!? OK, the Moronometer just went through the stratosphere. WHAT PART OF EUTHANIZE IT AT THE FARM DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND???????????? Even getting someone to shoot it in the head is less cruel than shipping it to auction.
In Lily’s case, a bit of moronity led to her rescue. She is now being cared for, is healthier, fatter, and may have more years to live and give. In fact, the recent photos of her show a gorgeous horse you’d never peg at 35.
Her story is one of those teachable moments. It points out how many people still treat animals as disposable, like the jeans that don’t fit. How people neglect animals that are no longer able to make money for them. It also points out that since Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty in 1877, things have changed in how we treat animals, even “working animals” like horses.
Now, about the paint: the running theory was target for paintballs, especially with the soreness at the painted bits. Ms. Weston says the horse was used for a “paint the pony party”, a popular thing to do with kids, where a horse becomes a canvas for non-toxic washable fingerpaints. This is cool for horse and kids, horse gets massage, kids get to be with horse and be creative. It’s fabulous. And it washes off.
If that is what happened with Lily, it makes it even more horrific that this beloved friend got shoved into an abusive situation, without even getting the paint washed off. Tossed, trashed, disposed of.
But then, like in a Disney film, the Stewarts came to the rescue.
Jon and Tracy Stewart are the real Avengers here, the real heroes. Carry on!