Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10148
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
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Tuesday, Nov 21, 2006

County: Matanuska Susitna

Disposition: Not Charged
Case Images: 2 files available

Abuser names unreleased

There is a disturbing story coming out of the Valley. One horse is dead and several others are in bad shape--all because of what some are calling extreme neglect.

Owning a horse takes lots of responsibility and lots of money. Any change in income for owners, such as the loss of a job or rising heat costs, can make it difficult to maintain the animal's care. But with so many organizations willing to help owners and their horses in distress, one man says there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of animal cruelty.

"That's probably the biggest thing, that somebody let this happen when there was no reason to let this happen," said Dave Wachsmuth of Alaska Equine Rescue.

Dave Wachsmuth of Alaska Equine Rescue is mad. Looking at the emaciated horses, Denali and Dawson, it is not hard to understand why.

"It's easy to see these guys are skinny. Anybody that knows anything about animals, when you start seeing ribs, hip bones, stuff like that, there's not enough food being made available to them," said Wachsmuth.

In the course of an on-going animal cruelty investigation, Denali and Dawson's Palmer owners relinquished the horses to the Mat-Su Animal Shelter. According to Wachsmuth, a rescue coordinator for Alaska Equine Rescue since 1992, they were lucky to only be half-alive. Their stall mate was found dead from starvation...a cruel fate, with little consequences.

"Its just a misdemeanor, no matter how many times it happens to the same person--still considered a misdemeanor," said Wachsmuth.

In their worst condition, Denali and Dawson were first discovered by authorities unsheltered and eating anything they could--a diet of mostly rocks and dirt. But now, in their new foster mom's heated barn, there's plenty of food to go around, and AER is picking up the tab.

No charges have been officially filed in this case and necropsy results of the dead horse are pending, and the most punishment the previous owners are likely to see is a day in court and a hefty fine.

Denali and Dawson's future is looking up. Their vet says they're recovering well--and they have the appetites to prove it. Alaska Equine Rescue will find a new, permanent owner for the horses by summer. But they say they would always prefer to keep the animals with their original owner.


  • KTVA - Nov 21, 2006

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