Local Horses Surrendered to SPCA, Newborn Foal Dies

Four horses belonging to a Derry family are in relatively good shape at the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Stratham, after being surrendered by their owners Friday, Oct. 25.

Steve Sprowl, animal cruelty investigator for the SPCA, said in a phone interview that the animals were brought to his attention by Derry Animal Control Officer (ACO) Marlene Bishop. Sprowl said Bishop became aware of the animals when she learned the owners didn’t have the funds to take a newly-delivered mare and her foal to the veterinarian. Upon investigation, Sprowl said, it was discovered the family had financial problems and could not provide hay for the mare or three other horses.
When he contacted the family, they immediately surrendered the animals to the SPCA, and the mare and foal were “rushed to the vet,” Sprowl said.
The foal, born that same day, did not survive the night, Sprowl said. “It could not get enough nutrients from the mother, who was not producing enough milk,” he said. The colt died at the New England Equine Medical Center in Dover.
The mare was taken to the SPCA in Stratham. The other three horses joined her on Friday. They were “vet-checked” and found to be in good condition, except for being a little underweight, Sprowl said. They also need their hooves done.
The mare is a 5-year-old paint pony who gave birth Oct. 30. The other horses are a 15-year-old roan gelding, an 11-year-old gelding and a 2-year-old mini-stallion.
They will be adoptable after their final veterinary care and hoof work is done, Sprowl said.
After a horse rescue, Sprowl said, he turns the animals over to the barn manager. He said he wasn’t sure what the adoption fee is for a horse, noting it depends on the horse’s age and other factors. The barn manager sets the adoption fee for each animal.
Derry Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey said the horses were surrendered from 78 Frost Road. While the lot they were on is large enough, at 1 3/4 acres, he said he and Health Officer Paul Raiche have had “some dealings” with the family.
“At one point the manure had accumulated and was in the town right-of-way,” Mackey said, adding, “The situation has since been addressed.”
Sprowl emphasized that the owners surrendered the horses rather than having them taken. “They did the right thing,” he said.
Contributions are being accepted to help pay for the rehabilitation. Donations can be made to the SOS Fund via www.nhspca.org, by mail to New Hampshire SPCA, PO Box 196, Stratham, NH 03885, or by phone to 772-2921, ext. 106.
Derry Police Captain Vern Thomas wrote in a statement, “The owners of the horses on Frost Road fell on hard times and were receiving assistance from an equine rescue group. The rescue group was unable to sustain their assistance beyond August of this year, and they notified Derry Animal Control in hopes that ACO would be able to monitor the situation going forward. ACO Marlene Bishop went to the residence and found that the animal owners appeared to be properly caring for their animals.
“In October, Bishop found that despite their best efforts the owners of these animals were no longer able to adequately provide for the horses and that their pony had just given birth,” Thomas said. “Bishop facilitated efforts to transfer custody of the pony and foal to the SPCA, where they could be rehabilitated to a healthy condition. The foal died a short time later. Bishop facilitated the custody of the remaining horses to SPCA and they are now in the custody of that agency.
“The owners of the horses cooperated with Derry Animal Control and the SPCA in transferring these animals,” he noted.