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Healing Hearts Animal Rescue Rehabs Abused, Neglected Arizona Animals

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 - 9:27am
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:48am
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There are tens of thousands of domestically owned horses in Arizona. In 2001, there were more than 170,000, according to a study from the Arizona Horse Council.

While most are loved, some are not so lucky. A place north of Phoenix nurses some of those less fortunate animals back to health.

Jax is one of the larger animals here at Healing Hearts Animal Rescue in New River.

“There's a body score, one to 10 — 10 being fatties, one being skinny," said Adam White, the barn manager who took Jax in eight months ago.

Back then, Jax's body score was a one.

“He would stand and lean on the rail, cause his hip was so bad and he was so skinny. He had to have help leaning all the time, and he always walked with a limp,” said White.

From his withers to his tail he was so sunken “you could eat a bowl of cereal off his back," White said.

Dr. Richard Fisher and ranch hand Carl Mayfield fixed the thoroughbred’s neglected teeth.

“Carl and I do this as a labor of love," said Fisher.

“You’re looking at $1,500 a year to $2,000 a year just to keep him going, and that’s if you don’t do anything but go back there and feed him," said Mayfield.

It’s an expensive, but rewarding responsibility, especially when you consider a horse will live about 30 years. That's why White was stunned when Jax’s owner called and said his 22-year-old horse was too old and needed to be put down.

When white pulled up with his trailer to the owner’s house, it was clear money wasn’t the issue.

“He also had a brand new Range Rover in his driveway — and he now has four new horse," White said.

Mayfield said horses have souls and should be treated with respect.

“Either they don’t care or just their compassion is not there. If they treat a horse like that or an animal like that…wouldn’t trust them around another person. Cause they have no heart," he said.

In V’s case — a Peruvian Paso horse — her owner wasn’t lacking in heart, but knowledge. White said V wasn’t properly cared for because her owner was afraid.

“So the lady had this horse and she was scared of V for some reason, she’s very friendly unless you’re giving her a shot, and she just let this get worse and worse," White said.

It took two months, 18 vet visits and $5,300 to fix her. Now, imagine similar medical bills by the dozens.

“We have 32 horses, eight donkeys, 12-14 goats [and] two cows," said White.

But for each of them, White said there’s still hope. And Jax? His body score is no longer a one.

“Now, he’s probably a seven or eight," White said.

The challenge is finding forever homes for the animals with plenty of space, time and compassion.

"We want to find owners that want to keep them for life and will take care of them,” said White.

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