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One of the most severe cases of horse abuse ever came to light last September when a Kansas plumbing supply store owner was charged with 18 counts of cruelty to animals.
Over 200 Hackney ponies were left without clean water, adequate amounts of food or veterinary care by Neuman Stern, who later pleaded guilty to the charges.
Stern, of Mission, Kan., was originally sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay whatever it cost to take care of the ponies until they were adopted. But the judge later released Stern after 30 days due to his mother’s failing health. However, he had to pay for improvements to his 60-acre mini-ranch which the Humane Society of the Heartland and HorseAid volunteers demanded before agreeing to care for the ponies.
John Duckworth, a farrier from Shawnee, Kan., helped put together teams of farriers, vets and handlers to attend to the 237 ponies. In two days, the teams trimmed 229 animals, castrated 113 ponies and euthanized eight ponies. Incredibly, only one of the surviving ponies had foundered.
“It was a real tragedy,” Duckworth says. “But it was an honor to be a part of the dedicated group of professionals who came to help these poor animals.” Some 30 people helped gather, feed and provide other care to the herd during the marathon two-day effort.
Randall Raub, who teaches horsemanship and handling at Kansas State University, brought students to help out with the ponies that had never been haltered…