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Miniature horses battling back from brink of death

Staff Photo: John Bohn Tamara Adelberg comforts Tyson, an 18-month old very malnourished miniature horse gelding. Judge Carla Brown, of Big Sky Farms, has recently taken in two very malnourished miniature horses at her Dacula rescue. The farm needs donations to assist with the medical care of the two sick horses. The male, Tyson, requires 24-hour care, including IV medications. The dressing around Tyson's neck is to assist and to ease the application of IV medications.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Tamara Adelberg comforts Tyson, an 18-month old very malnourished miniature horse gelding. Judge Carla Brown, of Big Sky Farms, has recently taken in two very malnourished miniature horses at her Dacula rescue. The farm needs donations to assist with the medical care of the two sick horses. The male, Tyson, requires 24-hour care, including IV medications. The dressing around Tyson's neck is to assist and to ease the application of IV medications.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Joshua Adelberg, 10, left, watches while his sister Kendy Adelberg, 12, brush Maybeline, a malnourished18-month old miniature horse filly. Judge Carla Brown, of Big Sky Farms, has recently taken in two very malnourished miniature horses at her Dacula rescue. The farm needs donations to assist with the medical care of the two sick horses. The male horse requires 24-hour care, including IV medications.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Tamara Adelberg assists in caring for Maybeline, an 18-month old, very malnourished miniature horse filly. Judge Carla Brown, of Big Sky Farms, has recently taken in two very malnourished miniature horses at her Dacula rescue. The farm needs donations to assist with the medical care of the two sick horses. The male requires 24-hour care, including IV medications.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Tamara Adelberg watches Tyson, a very malnourished 18-month old gelding miniature horse. Judge Carla Brown, of Big Sky Farms, has recently taken in two very malnourished miniature horses at her Dacula rescue. The farm needs donations to assist with the medical care of the two sick horses. The male requires 24-hour care, including IV medications. A visible neck dressing on Tyson is used to assist in administering IV medications to the animal.

DACULA -- Maybelline was in bad shape, but Tyson -- Tyson was even worse.

The pair of miniature horses -- ribs showing, feet and hooves in "awful condition" -- were saved from a Dacula farm recently. Judge Carla Brown carried the emaciated Tyson, only about 50 pounds at that point, out to the trailer herself.

Brown, Wanda Johnson and a host of other volunteers have cared for them around the clock for over two weeks. Tyson has needed 24/7 IV care, and is just now able to stand on his own. He probably wouldn't have made it another day if he hadn't been rescued. Maybelline has been better, but not much.

With the siblings now safe at Brown's farm, they're getting the care they need. Even with invaluable volunteer work, though, it's not free. The group is collecting donations, and will need plenty to cover the medical expenses necessary to nurse Tyson and Maybelline all the way back to health.

"There is no excuse for starving an animal like this," said Johnson, an animal rescue volunteer and member of the Gwinnett County Animal Task Force. "This is pure neglect."

Brown is a Gwinnett County Superior Court judge and animal enthusiast, running her horse farm and German shepherd rescue in the Dacula area. She said she was alerted to Tyson and Maybelline's situation when "these people showed up ... at a friend of mine's house and said they were just going to tie them to the fence but decided to stop and ask" if the friend would take them.

The friend contacted Brown, who came and picked them up.

Both Maybelline and Tyson had parasites and hadn't had their feet worked on in months, Brown said. They basically are having to relearn to walk.

"The little boy is just pitiful," Brown, the wife of Sheriff Butch Conway, said last week. "Skin and bones ... His coat was extremely furry and matted because he was unable to shed, he was so unhealthy."

The owner of the approximately 18-month-old siblings, who had the horses for about eight months, was recently cited, Brown said.

Constant volunteer work and vet visits -- "We've been sleeping in the stalls," Johnson said -- have begun to nurse the minis back to health. Tyson was taken off constant IV care last Thursday, and finally stood up by himself on Sunday.

"He is a fighter for sure," Johnson said.

After a plea on Facebook, nurses and experienced horse honors have shown up to help cover shifts caring for the horses. Some 40 people have donated their time, Johnson said, but monetary donations are needed too.

A ChipIn account has been set up online for those interested in donating to a fund for Tyson and Maybelline's medical care.

Johnson asked the public for anything it can do to help.

"Carla has such a huge heart for all animals, but no one can do rescue, no one can do what she does without donations," Johnson said.

To donate, visit bigskyfarm.chipin.com. Contributions can also be mailed to Big Sky Farm, Attn: Team Tyson & Maybelline, P.O. Box 248, Lawrenceville, Ga. 30046. Checks should be made payable to Equine Medical or Big Sky Farm.