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Rescued horses still have life-or-death issues to overcome

Fourteen horses rescued from a Herkimer County farm are getting a new lease on life. The animals were confiscated by staff at HorseFeather Farms on New Boston Road in Canastota after police received several reports of very thin horses living in squalid conditions.

"For the past five years, we've been getting calls from police and human societies where they don't have an animal cruelty investigator," said Susan Bloser of HorseFeather Farms. "We've sort of fallen into the role of investigator."

Last week, that role of investigator led Bloser and her crew to Herkimer County where, with the assistance of local law enforcement, they had to break into stalls to get the horses out. She said she wasn't sure how the animals would receive them, but got her answer quickly enough.

"They couldn't wait to get out," Bloser said.

Bloser collected the horses, having to make two trips with their largest transporter, and brought them back to New Boston Road where they received the first of two evaluations last week by Dr. Edward Chapman, owner of the Fayetteville Veterinary Hospital.

"Dr. Chapman will be out again this week," Bloser said. "There are three horses he is very concerned about."

The animals range in age from 1 to 20 years old; and it is the yearling and a couple of the oldest horses that are touch-and-go. All the horses' hooves are overgrown, something that can permanently impair their skeletal structures.

"My blacksmith Joe Bambino of Vernon was out here five hours the first day," Bloser said. "He's got a lot of work in front of him."

Because the horses' hooves have been without care for so long, Bambino will have to essentially chip away at the job of grooming them back to normalcy in hopes the horses will be able to readjust their gaits as their hooves are improved. Doing all the work at one sitting could put them into shock.

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