A horse found nearly starved to death near her dead foal in a Campo corral six years ago was reunited with her rescuers Saturday at the county animal shelter where she was nursed back to health before being moved to a horse sanctuary.
County Department of Animal Services staffers welcomed back the brown buckskin mare they named "Simone" in recognition of "Help a Horse Day," which was launched by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Simone's former caretakers shareed her rescue story, which began when the 12-year-old horse was found in June 2008 by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, starving with a bale of hay just out of her reach, according to county officials.
Animal control officers brought Simone, who had lost part of her mane and was so weak she staggered while walking, to the Bonita facility for intensive care.
Officials with the county Department of Animal Services launched an investigation into her treatment, which led to her former owner, Derek Boyd of Campo, being convicted of a misdemeanor count of animal neglect, authorities said.
After being nursed back to health she was adopted by the nonprofit sanctuary Horses of Tir Na Nog in the East County. Officials said she was the first of the some 30 horses transferred to the sanctuary from county facilities.
"The Horses of Tir Na Nog has been a savior to many elderly and infirm horses that the department might otherwise have had to euthanize," Deputy Director of Animal Services Dan DeSousa said. "Through their compassion and dedication to these wonderful creatures, 30 animals have been able to live out their lives in a wonderful, caring environment."
Also during the event, a local Girl Scout troop donated horse care supplies, county officials said.
—City News Service