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Island County saves malnourished horse, still needs help

Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes spends some quality time with Maverick, a malnourished horse that is currently in protective custody. Donations can help offset the costs associated with helping Maverick start a new life. - Paul Boring / Whidbey News-Times
Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes spends some quality time with Maverick, a malnourished horse that is currently in protective custody. Donations can help offset the costs associated with helping Maverick start a new life.
— image credit: Paul Boring / Whidbey News-Times

On Whidbey Island, the general attitude regarding animals is a variation of the golden rule: “Treat your pet as you would want to be treated.”

And be willing to open your wallets to help a victimized horse build a new life.

Island County Animal Control recently seized Maverick, an almost 5-year-old paint, from the Umatilla area after a resident requested a welfare check for the horse.

Animal Control officers Carol Barnes and Peg Diefert investigated the call and as a result secured a search warrant. Maverick was clearly undernourished. If his behavior didn’t betray the horse’s medical needs, the visible ribs spoke volumes.

“After observing the animal, we saw that animal neglect had been occurring,” Barnes said.

A group of volunteers sprang to action and assisted in transferring Maverick to a local horse facility where he could be nursed back to health. Skagit Farmers Supply did their part in putting Maverick on the road to recovery by donating life-giving grain and hay.

Oak Harbor veterinarian Robert Moody, an equine and large animal specialist, visited the horse in its new, safer digs and performed a thorough medical exam and provided follow-up treatment.

“There are still medical concerns to address, but Maverick is housed in protective custody where he is receiving humane care and proper nutrition,” Barnes said.

The case is hush-hush until the investigation is wrapped up. Maverick’s owner is facing pending charges for animal cruelty in the second degree, which could result in a maximum fine of $1,000, nine days in jail, or both.

Maverick still has a long way to go before his physical and psychological scars heal. Both monetary donations and specific items are desperately needed. Items being sought are grain, or country acres; hay, orchard grass or timothy mix; bedding, or pine chips; stall dry, salt/mineral blocks, and any equine supplies people are willing to spare.

The tangible items can be dropped off at Skagit Farmers Supply in Oak Harbor, reachable at 675-2277.

Donations to help pay for veterinary care and nutritional needs can be made at any Whidbey Island Bank branch in care of “The Horse Rescue Trust Fund.”

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