April 2016 | Old, Underweight Mare Shot by 130 Paintballs, Abandoned at New Holland
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Old, Underweight Mare Shot by 130 Paintballs,
Abandoned at New Holland

Stephanie Lawson - April 2016

Lily and Dr. Nikki Scherrer at New BoltonNew Bolton’s Dr. Nikki Scherrer and Lily after eye surgery.

According to an article in LNP, New Holland police charged Phillip S. Price, age 65, of East Providence, RI on March 30. Price is charged with three counts of animal cruelty, a single count of dealing and handling animals without a license, and a single count of importing animals without an interstate health certificate. Maximum fine could total $3,750, plus court costs, and he could be ordered to pay restitution for the horse’s care if he is found guilty. The article says that in July 2015 Price pleaded no contest to eight counts of animal cruelty in Rhode Island, for keeping eight horses in "conditions of filth".

The story of Lily, a grey, 20-year-old mare shot at close range by approximately 130 paintballs and abandoned in a stall at the New Holland Auction, has received international media attention.

A reward for information on who shot and abandoned the underweight mare has reached $10,000.

Kelly Smith of Omega Horse Rescue in Airville, PA, found the mare in a stall at the New Holland, PA auction barn after the close of business on March 14. New Holland Auction management is cooperating with the investigation.

The mare was sore to the touch from being shot. "It was deplorable," Smith said. "Her eye was swollen shut. The other one she can't see out of. Her head was hanging down. She was very depressed."

Smith called the Lancaster SPCA and transported Lily, as she was named, to New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, PA.

"In 15 years, I've never seen another paintball case," New Bolton Center veterinarian Dr. Rose Nolen-Walston said. "You can tell she's a sweetie and you can tell she's happy to be getting some food and some care.

"If you look at her, she's obviously a very old debilitated horse, who can't defend herself."

New Bolton veterinarians determined that Lily was blind in one eye and the other eye was severely ulcerated. Later in the week, Dr. Nikki Scherrer, Ophthalmology Resident and surgeon, removed the blind eye and performed surgery on the other.

Following the surgery, Scherrer reported. “The left eye is, as expected, painful, so we have her on new pain medications to reduce that pain, administered through a patch on her leg. We will be monitoring her closely. Usually after the first three days, we would expect her to feel much better. We see that in 90 percent of cases, the eye heals completely in two weeks.

“The enucleation site where we removed the right eye seems to be quite comfortable and looks as good as we would want it to after 24 hours. The site is healing quite well: there is no discharge; she’s comfortable when I palpate it; so everything’s going as expected. We changed the bandages today, because we wanted to make sure everything is intact.”

Dr. Nolen-Walston said, “Lily is doing very well, and does not seem to have any major systemic problems. She is eating a combination of two different types of hay—grass and alfalfa—along with small amounts of sweet feed. Lily’s favorite treat seems to be carrots, and she is getting plenty of those. Lily will be at New Bolton Center and in quarantine for at least two weeks, and is expected to make a full recovery. She is a very sweet, trusting horse. She’s settled right in. She seems to know that we are here to help her.”

Omega Horse Rescue is taking responsibility for Lily's treatment, which will likely cost thousands of dollars. Donations can be made at Omegahorserescue.com or mailed to Omega Horse Rescue, 8272 Woodbine Road, Airville, PA 17302. The 5-year-old facility takes in slaughter-bound horses and rehabilitates them for adoption. They have many horses currently up for adoption and Lily will eventually be one of them.

The SPCA is working with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office. There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in this case. The Lancaster County SPCA is taking those tips by phone at (717) 917-6979 or by email at info@lancasterspca.org. All calls will be kept anonymous.