More than Fifty Horses Seized from Failing West Virginia Horse Rescue

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Horse eyeWhen horses arrived at Hidden Meadows Equine Rescue in Berkeley County, West Virginia, they should have been safe from their past neglect. Last week, the county’s Animal Control discovered that wasn’t the case.

More than fifty horses and two cows were seized by animal control after reports of emaciated animals led the sheriff’s department to investigate. According to reports, the animals had no access to food or water. Six dead horses were found on the property, and another had to be euthanized due to poor health.

According to a Sept. 15 article in the Hagerstown, MD Herald-Mail, there are currently no charges against the operator of Hidden Meadows, Mary O’Brien, but the case is under investigation. O’Brien claims that the animals were in worse condition when they came to her than they are now, but investigators obtained a photo of one of the most severely emaciated horses that showed him in near-perfect health two months ago.

The horses are being put up for adoption as they are cleared by a veterinarian to be healthy enough for travel, and many have already found homes in the local area. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department made the unusual decision to allow the horses to be adopted for free. Potential adopters do have to fill out an application and will be required to allow animal control officers to visit the property where an adopted horse is living.

For more information on making a donation or adopting any of the surrendered Hidden Meadows horses, call the Berkeley County Animal Control Office at 304-263-4729.

16 COMMENTS

  1. It’s really sad to see these people who mean well but don’t know how to take care of the animals. I’ve seen a lot of cases like this on Animal Cops on Animal Planet.

  2. It makes me so mad to think someone could do that!! I’m just wondering where all their donations went if they were not going to feeding the horses!

  3. Thats horrible that places like this that are created as a safe haven for abused and neglected Horses, neglect them as well, its time to keep a closer eye on these type of institutes.

  4. Question: When you are a rescue operation, of any kind, aren’t you suppose to be under regulated guidelines to follow? Thank goodness someone saw the need to step in and take over, just a shame it was too late for some. Hope the adopties get better homes in the future.

  5. I can’t believe a place that is supposed to help and save horses is doing the exact opposite. It is sickening enough to think of a person mistreating their horse aat all but for someone who claims to be running a rescvue to starve those horses is truly aweful!

  6. The sad thing about this and many other “rescue” operations is that the people try so hard to help all the animals that they get in over their heads and don’t know how to get out. They rely on donations that don’t begin to cover the costs and end up being the ones the humane associations have to go in to and seize the animals. As some point they have to stop taking in animals and ask for real help. And keep it down to a dull roar on the number of rescues they take. I think they seriously feel that the animals are better off with them…..so sad.

  7. This is horrific. It’s one thing when someone can’t take care of their own horses but when you’re a rescue you fall under a different obligation. There’s no excuse. They should have reached out if they couldn’t cope.

  8. ITS SAD TO SEE OR HEAR OF ANIMALS WHO ARENT TAKEN CARE OF. IN FACT IT MAKES ME VERY ANGRY. YES THAT PLACE SHOULDNT HAVE LET IT GET SO BAD, OR GO SO FAR. BUT IT DID. WHO KNOWS HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE ARE IN THE SAME BOAT. AND I FEEL THIS TAKES US RIGHT BACK TO THE HORSE SLAUGHTER ISSUE. STARVING TO DEATH, I MEAN REALLY, STARVING HORSES THAT DIE PEOPLE, IS WORSE TO ME THAN BEING SLAUGHTERED FOR FOOD. I WOULD MUCH RATHER SEE A HORSE SLAUGHTERED THAN SUFFER FROM STARVATION. KILLING ANIMALS FOR FOOD IS JUST A PART OF LIFE. IT HAS BEEN FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, AND THOSE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH IT NEED TO BE THE ONES TO TAKE CARE OF THOSE THOUSANDS OF HOMELESS STARVING HORSES, AND ANY OTHER ANIMALS. IN THIS DAY AND TIME IT IS SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO GIVE A HORSE AWAY IF THEY CANT FEED IT. THE COST OF FEED IS SO HIGH, AND THE COST OF LIVING IS SO HIGH ANYMORE, PEOPLE HAVE TO PICK THEIR PRIORITIES. SO LESS AND LESS ANIMALS HAVE A HOME. NOT TO MENTION ALL THE OVERBREEDING. DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THAT! IVE HEARD OF HORSES IN THIS PAST YEAR, THAT USE TO BE A RIDING HORSE THAT PEOPLE CANT FEED ANYMORE OR GIVE AWAY, ARE BEING TURNED LOOSE TO LIVE WILD TO DEFEND FOR THEMSELVES. IT SHOULDNT COME TO THAT. BUT IT IS. ONE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT THAT IS AT LEAST THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO LOOK FOR FOOD AND WATER. I HOPE THOSE 50 THAT WERE SEIZED FIND A HOME THAT CAN TAKE CARE OF THEM PROPERLY. I PRAY CONSTANTLY THAT ANIMALS DONT SUFFER DUE TO HUMAN CRUELTY. ITS A CRYING SHAME HOW CRUEL PEOPLE CAN BE.

  9. Please read this detailed account and contact the county officials who’s job it should be to oversee responsible action. The local sheriff of this podunk county that borders two other states has decided it is within his authority simply to manage the situation with ZERO accountability. Typical of this county and how it is managed, the objective on his part is to “get rid of” all able and surviving animals — with no prequalifications ASAP”. Please cut and paste http://www.examiner.com/pet-rescue-in-national/hidden-meadows-equine-rescue-seized-horses-nothing-more-than-bid-numbers#comment-11781691
    County officials are and can be contacted as also follows:
    Berkeley County Commission homepage:
    http://www.berkeleycountycomm.org/officials/county-commission.cfm
    Three-person Commission:
    *Ronald K. Collins, Commissioner
    *William L. Stubblefield, Commissioner
    *Tony Petrucci, Commissioner
    Municipal Center Berkeley County:
    400 West Stephen Street, Suite 201
    Martinsburg, WV 25401
    Contact:
    Phone: 304/264-1923
    Fax: 304/267-5049

  10. we got my horse from that rescue and he was in horrable condition if we wouldnt of gotten him when we did he would of been dead by now my vet put him as a 2 on the 1-9 scale of waight 🙁

  11. I just saw Mary O’Brien’s Hidden Meadows rescue horses! Never have I seen a group of animals in worse condition – very near to death, a horrible nightmare of suffering. In my opinion, Ms. O’Brien needs a long, long prison term – without food and water. Remember her name and what she’s done to those poor animals. The three un-marvelous Berkley County Commissioners are the ones who might have done something; they did not, and should be held equally responsible for this nightmare. Remember their names. They are:
    *Ronald K. Collins, Commissioner
    *William L. Stubblefield, Commissioner
    *Tony Petrucci, Commissioner
    Municipal Center Berkeley County:
    400 West Stephen Street, Suite 201
    Martinsburg, WV 25401

  12. And to think she called and chastised me for selling a horse and not keeping track of it after the 4th or 5th home and she supposedly “rescued” her…. I tried my best to find my horse a perfect home when I sold her.

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