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Rescued horses await homes at Westmoreland Fairgrounds

Thirty-six horses arrived at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds, hoping for a new home after being rescued from a farm in West Virginia.

Stepping in to take charge were members of the Arabian Rescue Mission, a nonprofit horse rescue group based in New Jersey.

"A family member contacted us because they knew that they needed help," Arabian Rescue Mission founder and President Terry Figueroa said of the horses. "Overall, they are not in that bad of shape. I'm just really glad that they contacted us when they did. Too many people wait until it is too late to ask for help. They knew they needed it, and that saved many of the horses."

The owner of the horses died in December, but he wasn't on the farm itself since 2008.

The Arabian horses ran free on the farm and were fed by a relative of the owner. Rescuers suspected the large herd had not had any type of care or treatment for years.

The horses were brought to the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon in trailers and entered into stalls until examined by a local veterinarian todayfor any types of infections or problems.

The horses were suffering from malnutrition, infections and worms.

"He'll draw blood and examine them," Figueroa said. "Hopefully they will all be ready to go to new homes soon."

Figueroa and her group were not the only ones who stepped up to help the struggling herd.

Another group adopted several of the horses and transported them to Indiana.

Several volunteers showed up at the fairgrounds to help, many bringing donations and support.

"I read about it online and wanted to help," volunteer Kim Anker of Delmont said. "I own a little consignment shop, and I started taking donations."

The horses were led out of the trailers, many stopping to munch on hay before they were placed in the waiting stalls.

"This has gone well, better than I expected," Figueroa said of the transport. "I think that they know. I think they are ready to be taken care of and they are ready for new homes."

The horses that are medically OK will be available for adoption.

"People can come anytime after 9 in the morning on Tuesday, after the horses eat," Figueroa said of the adoption process which will cost $25 for the application fee. "All they need to do is pay the adoption fee, but there is a screening process. I have people who will check into their backgrounds to make sure of good placement. I have had several calls from people who are interested and who wanted to know if they should bring a horse trailer with them on Tuesday and I told them 'no.' The horses will be available for the public to view, but they won't leave until everything is checked out."

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