Eleven horses and about 50 dogs have been placed in local farms, shelters and homes after the starved animals were rescued last week from a woman’s home in Juniata County.
One of those horses has since died.
Jennifer L. Poole, 44, of Port Royal has been charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and 10 counts of neglect of animals, according to documents filed by the Pennsylvania State Police at Lewistown.
State police went to Poole’s home Dec. 18, where the dogs and horses were found. The following day, police reached out to rescues for help, including Central PA Horse Rescue in Lewisberry.
The rescue helped to find homes and transportation for nine of the horses and brought two of the horses back to Lewisberry, said Connie Greenawalt, vice president of the horse rescue.
“People are amazing,” Greenawalt said Thursday. It was a bit of a Christmas miracle, asking the rescue’s volunteers and Facebook followers if they could help and getting an overwhelming response.
Marty Petratos, Greenawalt’s partner and president of the rescue, drove to Port Royal last week to coordinate efforts and pick up two horses, which they named Red and Blackie, but Red was so weak that he collapsed in the trailer before leaving Port Royal.
“He was so skinny,” Greenawalt said. In the many rescues she has seen, she said, “he was, by far, the worst horse I’ve ever seen.”
From Friday to Sunday, the rescue and a veterinarian tried to save Red with medications, food, fluids and a sling to help him walk. But as Greenawalt held him in her arms Sunday, he died.
“At least he died in loving arms,” Greenawalt said. She estimated that he was 400-500 pounds under a healthy weight.
State police picked up Red from the Lewisberry rescue on Christmas Eve to take him to Harrisburg for a necropsy, the equivalent of an equine autopsy.
The other horse at the rescue, who they named Blackie, is about 150 pounds underweight but getting better. He has gained just over 50 pounds in his first week at the rescue.
“He’s doing fine,” Greenawalt said. “We have a 108-acre farm. They get to walk around the farm all day. He’s in his glory.”
Blackie is being housed in a barn with three other horses, including a draft horse named Chance that has a deformed front hoof. The four horses have created a tight bond, and make it quite clear when it is time to leave their stalls for their daily romp.
The Lewisberry rescue has about 28 horses currently. To offer donations or volunteer, reach the rescue at 717-855-5188.
The Friendship Fire Company in Port Royal took in 19 of the dogs found at the home. A fundraiser is being held to keep the dogs in its care.
For her 12 charges, Poole is being held in Mifflin County Prison on $25,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
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