Weather Forecast


Hurdles ahead after animal rescue from Foxboro farm

This horse is one of several rescued from a Foxboro farm on May 31 and taken in by the Humane Society of Douglas County.

The Humane Society of Douglas County is reaching out to the community after the rescue of more than a dozen animals from a Foxboro farm.

“There were some pretty sad things I saw that day,” said Sheila Keup, the humane society director. One dog’s hair was so matted, she couldn’t determine where its ears were and a veterinarian couldn’t find a heartbeat. There were “skinny, skinny horses like I’ve never seen,” Keup said. Garbage and feces littered the property and home.

“The smell was like nothing I’ve ever smelled before,” Keup said.

The animals were surrendered last weekend after a search warrant served at the residence revealed the horses, goats, dogs and birds were not provided with food, water and, in the case of the birds, shelter.

A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office report detailed the condition of each of the animals, from long hooves and hair loss caused by mites, lice and fleas to one horse’s blind, sunk-in eyes. At least three of the horses scored

1 by veterinarian Leah Martin on a 9-point scale. One horse and two dogs were released to a friend of the owner. The humane society accepted the rest.

“The cost is just huge for us,” Keup said. “It’s not something we would ever foresee with all these large animals, but somebody had to help them.

“This is not something the Humane Society of Douglas County would take on,” she said, but the need was “so bad and so big.”

Foster families have stepped forward to provide homes for the chickens, geese and large animals. Three dogs and some South American rodents are at the humane society itself. But it’s going to take more resources to care for the animals as they try to recover, according to the society.

“We’re going to need thousands — thousands and thousands to help just the small animals,” Keup said.

Anyone who wants to help can donate money for the care of the animals to the Humane Society of Douglas County Rescue Fund, which has been set up at National Bank of Commerce. Donations have already started to roll in, including $200 from the Windchill Legacy group.

Deputy Patrick Carey responded to the Foxboro residence about 7 a.m. May 31. A search warrant was served later that day, and the animals had all been removed by about 8 p.m. It was a long day, said Sgt. Richard Schnell, but all the agencies and individuals involved worked in tandem to get it done. That included neighbors who lent a hand.

Keup gave kudos to the sheriff’s department officers for their professionalism during the day.

“It was just excellent,” she said.

A 35-year-old Foxboro woman was arrested for mistreating animals and failing to provide food and drink to a confined animal. She was later released, and an initial court appearance was set for June 24. No charges have been filed in the Clerk of Courts office.

Schnell stressed that if any animal owner in the county is having trouble caring for their pets, there are organizations they can reach out to for help.

Keup said animal owners are welcome to call the humane society, (715) 398-6784, and staff members can point them in the right direction.

“We may not have an answer to every problem, but at least it’s a start,” she said.

To help

Contact the Humane Society of Douglas County at (715) 398-6784.