July 2017 Issue - page 1

Vol. 24 No. 7
Our 24th Year
July 2017
LANC., PA 17604
Life Goes on for Lucky Survivors of Horrific Trailer Wreck
By Amy Worden
They are trail mounts,
therapy horses and pasture pets.
One is learning Parelli Natural
Horsemanship and another gave
birth to a foal this spring.
None of these horses
would still be alive had their
slaughter-bound trailer not been
involved in a horrific wreck in
Tennessee last November.
The doomed horses had just
been purchased at a Knoxville
auction by Bruce Rotz, a Penn-
sylvania-based kill buyer who
collects horses from auctions
throughout the East to sell to
slaughter plants in Canada.
Thirty horses were on the
trailer that night heading to
Rotz’s Shippensburg farm when
the rig slammed into a flatbed
truck as it tried to merge onto a
busy highway. In an instant, the
horses were thrown on their sides
or violently ejected from the
trailer, leaving nine dead.
Amy Neary, a Knoxville po-
lice dispatcher who also transports
animals for the area veterinary
school, is summoned to help in
traffic accidents involving horses.
One mare was ejected or
crawled from the wreck and was
perched five feet above ground
on the back of the flatbed trailer.
The mare remained calm, despite
badly injured legs and the precar-
ious position where she land-
ed. Neary was able to lead the
traumatized horse off the flatbed
trailer and onto another trailer
with a bed that could be lowered.
Eventually the horses made
it to Rotz’s farm, but Neary was
haunted by the mare she had saved.
When Kelly Smith of York
County, PA’s Omega Horse
Rescue and Rehabilitation heard
about the accident and learned
the survivors were in Pennsylva-
nia she appealed to Rotz to sell
them to her.
They had suffered so much
already, Smith said, certainly they
deserved a second chance.
Smith doled out $13,000 to
buy the 21 survivors – all mares
– some barely handled. Of those,
three had to be euthanized for
behavior issues or injuries. Another
was euthanized weeks later after it
was determined she had untreatable
navicular disease. Four were sent to
a thoroughbred rescue in Maryland.
Neary couldn’t shake the
impression the paint mare she
helped unload that night had made
on her. She was so captivated by
her strength and spirit she decided
to adopt her and packed up her
trailer to go to Pennsylvania to
get her. Given that Hope was part
of a herd of broodmares, Chester
County veterinarian Philip Holt,
who works with Omega rescue,
recommended a pregnancy test.
Sure enough, the mare she’d
named Hope was pregnant.
In April Hope gave birth
to a healthy Medicine hat colt,
distinguished by their white coats
and rare markings. She named
him Freedom.
“I came home from work one
night and saw this flash of white
in my headlights in the pasture,”
said Neary.
Kelly Smith said saving a
pregnant mare who gave birth to
a healthy foal despite the trauma,
was one of the most positive
things that came out of the terri-
ble accident. “They were so close
to being denied life.”
Smith, who attends the week-
ly horse auction at New Holland
in Lancaster County, pointed out
that pregnant mares are sold for
slaughter every day. On a re-
cent Monday, she said, a herd of
thoroughbred mares were being
moved through to the kill pen.
Some were clearly never handled.
“People who breed and dump
horses are not responsible for the
life they brought into this world,”
said Smith. “They send them to
auction and hope someone will buy
them and give them a good home.
The over breeding is frustrating.”
Kelly’s group has spent
thousands of dollars in vet care
to treat the injured and neglected
Tennessee horses and more to train
the little-handled and traumatized
animals. Today all but four have
found new homes, she said. Two of
the remaining horses are in foster
care and will be offered as non-rid-
ing companions. The two others
are working under saddle with
Omega’s trainer, Jeff Michael, and
should be ready for adoption soon.
“The majority of the group
made it and are thriving,” said
Nikki Scherrer, a veterinarian
who works with Smith helping
place horses. “There are no lin-
gering issues from the accident.
It’s impressive how well they
came out of it.”
The wreck has expanded
awareness about large animal res-
cue and slaughter among Knox-
ville first responders, Neary said.
Area fire and police departments
are getting more large animal res-
cue training as a result, she said.
“It was a wake-up call that
has made us more prepared,” said
She said her fellow first re-
sponders had no idea that scores of
horses from an area auction were
going to slaughter every month.
Meanwhile, Freedom is
growing up fast, Neary said, en-
joying galloping up and down the
hills in his pasture, playing in the
pond and getting plenty of loving
from her riding students. Neary
thinks he might make a competi-
tive trail horse one day.
And Neary is starting Hope
under saddle with Freedom trot-
ting along behind.
“I can’t believe someone
would throw her away,” said Neary.
Amy Worden is a Harris-
burg-area writer. She founded the
Philadelphia Inquirer’s pet blog,
Philly Dawg, which is now on
Facebook. Follow her on twitter
Hope, left, was adopted by her rescuer, Amy Neary, after she landed on a five foot high flatbed trailer
following a horrific wreck that killed nine horses. In April, she delivered a healthy colt, Freedom,
shown at right with Jenna Harnes, age 11.
New to you products and services—
check them out … pg. 22
PA Legislature passes landmark animal
cruelty bill … pg. 7
One-day shelter allows owners to
surrender any horse … pg. 11
…and much more!
Trailer & Transport
Feature … pgs. 12-18
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