CLERMONT/BROWN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Hundreds of abused and neglected horses are still alive thanks to a local organization, but after its most recent rescue passed away, it is now urging the public to chip in and help.
Fighting Chance Rescue will help any horse in need, regardless of the animal’s shape, size, age or background.
“We aren’t going to deny a horse," said Kellie Sicurella, a Fighting Chance Rescue Board Member.
The rescue got a call about a horse named “Chief” on Friday. The horse’s owners wanted to surrender him. At 35-years-old, Chief, rescuers said, was older, emaciated and malnourished which meant he was fighting an uphill battle. Still, rescuers had hope.
“He did well Saturday, did well Sunday, woke up (Monday) morning and it was just a different story," said Kimberly Kinder, the president of the rescue.
By Monday, Chief’s health had declined dramatically. Medical experts told rescuers that Chief had a heart condition. Had he been in better shape, he may have been able to fight it. Instead, on Monday, he lost his life.
“At one time, he was really well taken care of, and these past few years, it just hasn’t been the case," said Kinder.
For these rescuers, it is the second horse they have had to bury since they started this mission in 2016. Of the horses they have taken in and taken care of, more than 200 have survived.
“You can see them go to families, and you can see them be ridden and trained," said Sicurella.
Rescuers said that in many cases, people may not even realize that a horse is in danger of dying, or, if they do, they turn the other way and ignore it.
“You can surrender your animal to a rescue. Your animal doesn’t have to sit out in a field and die," said Sicurella.
The rescue is now urging the community to take action and come forward so that horses like Chief have a fighting chance.
“You don’t have to be involved,” said Kinder. "Just make a call to somebody who can make a difference.”
About a year ago, one of the rescuers petitioned for Clermont County to add an investigator position to help crack down on horse neglect and abuse. On Monday, she said that it has not happened yet, but she is still pushing for it.