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Equine Angels rescue 6 malnourished horses from Butler County

| Saturday, March 23, 2013, 12:03 a.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Pam Vivirito, founder of Equine Angels Rescue, assesses one of six horses on Friday, March 22, 2013, that was rescued on Thursday from a Fairview Township, Butler County, farm.

Six malnourished horses a rescue team took from a Fairview Township, Butler County, farm munched on badly needed food on Friday, the head of an animal rescue team said.

“They haven't lifted their heads from the hay,” said Pam Vivirito, founder of Equine Angels Rescue.

The group is sheltering the six horses at its Jefferson farm.

The owner of the Fairview farm, Brian Arendosh, did not return phone messages on Friday. Vivirito said she would seek charges, including cruelty to animals, through state police. State trooper Shawn King, the humane officer who covers Butler County, said charges are pending.

“These horses have been like this for awhile,” Vivirito said.

Members of a family who drive past Arendosh's farm noticed several of the horses outside and called the rescue group, Vivirito said.

When volunteers went to the farm Thursday, they found a pair each of paint horses, quarter horses and thoroughbreds in poor condition. All six, caked with manure and mud, had heart murmurs and worms, were badly underweight and suffered other ailments, Vivirito said,.

Two horses in the worst condition were found locked in stalls, Vivirito added.

“There was no shelter, no water, no hay,” Vivirito said. All of the horses, between the ages of 10 and early 20s, are expected to recover, she said.

She said Arendosh surrendered the six horses.

“They were all in his care,” Vivirito said.

Three ponies in better shape remain at the farm, though Vivirito said the rescue team wants them as well.

Since Jan. 1, the group has taken in 26 emaciated horses in Butler County, already outpacing last year's 18 rescues. All stay at the group's Jefferson farm and it costs about $500 a week to feed them. The veterinarian bill for Thursday's rescue is about $700, she added.

Rising grain prices and a hay shortage have led some to neglect their horses, Vivirito said.

The group does not take horses every time they investigate a neglect report, Vivirito added.

“We try to educate (owners) when we can. We can tell the people are trying and there's an effort.”

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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