breed: 1990 bay Arab gelding
type of rescue: City of Snohomish Animal Control Surrender
intake date: 9/13/2013
adoption date: 5/16/2014
length of time with SAFE: 0 years, 8 months
Atticus’ Story: Atticus was surrendered to authorities in the City of Snohomish after he was found starving and malnourished. Scored at 1.5 on the Henneke scale, Atticus was a wretched sight to see after his rescue, with protruding ribs, spine, hips, and shoulders. Thankfully, he recovered slowly but surely from his ordeal. Atticus bloomed back into health, revealing a gentle soul with a playful personality, handsome and sweet. His story got its fairytale ending in May 2014 when he found his forever home with a family who adores him and a new best friend named Jazzy.
We could not be happier to officially announce that Atticus has been adopted! Our sweet old man has found himself a wonderful new home where he will live out the rest of his life in comfort, and receive the kind of care that he has always deserved. We’d like to thank Bernice and Joe S for opening their home and hearts to Atticus. Bernice tells us it feels like Atticus has always been part of their family, and that his homecoming last week felt like it was absolutely meant to be. I think we all breathed a contented sigh of happiness when this particular adoption came to be…it’s hard to imagine a nicer horse finding a nicer pair of humans, and it’s such a comfort to know that Atticus has a place of his own and that he will never again be mistreated.
But there is something about this situation that makes it even more perfect that what I’ve just described. When Atticus was rescued last October, he was one of two neglected horses found on a property in Snohomish. Atticus had a close friend, a beautiful paint mare that we called Scout. Help came too late for Scout, who was suffering from painful laminitis in her front hooves, a pain so agonizing that she could barely walk. There was nothing that could be done for her, and with deep sorrow and regret, she was humanely euthanized to end her suffering. Losing Scout had a profound effect on her friend Atticus, who continued to call for her and look for her, days after her passing. Eventually his heart recovered along with his poor neglected body, and he would go on to make friends with other SAFE horses and former SAFE horses during his time in our care.
So imagine how it felt to all of us when Atticus arrived at his new home and met his new pasture mate: a beautiful paint mare named Jazzy. It was love at first site for these two elder horses, and Bernice tells us that Jazzy is absolutely smitten with her new friend. They have settled into a happy routine together, and will even share their hay. Jazzy is a bit older than Atticus and doesn’t always move as quickly or as easily as he does. On their first turnout together, Atticus went exploring up the hill in the pasture. Jazzy wasn’t quite up to the task, and when he got too far away, she called out to him. Atticus looked back in surprise, then proceeded to gallop straight back to her to take up his usual place by her side. It’s beyond joyful to know that Atticus has found someone to ease the heartache of losing Scout, and take her place alongside Scout in his heart. We couldn’t have dreamed up a better fairy tale ending for this dear old horse. We hope that he and Jazzy will have many happy days together.
There are plenty of SAFE horses who hope to some day be as lucky as Atticus has been. Every horse deserves a person of their own, a home of their own, and a friend of their own. The joy and happiness that Atticus gets from his new family is joy and happiness he gives back to them every day. Surely there is a place in your home and your heart for a horse that needs you? We have so many fine individuals who are ready to leave the rescue and start their new lives. See them all right here: Meet the SAFE Horses
Atticus is back at Safe Harbor these days, and he’s looking like a million bucks! He’s an exceptionally handsome Arab gelding, and now that he’s no longer bony and thin, he’s looking really good. He even has a cute little belly! Now that Atticus is healthy again, he is ready for a forever home of his own. The new and improved Atticus is a spunky, playful horse and we are hoping to find him a home where he can have plenty of turnout. He needs this because if he stands around too long, he will stock up a bit in his hind legs, and that causes him some discomfort. We help ease this by having our volunteers hand walk him as much as possible, but what Atticus needs is a good home where he’ll have lots of room to roam around and keep comfortable.
Atticus is just one of the companion-only horses currently in SAFE’s care that is ready for a home. Since we are limited in the number of horses we can have in our program at any given time — our maximum is 28 horses plus the two minis — we must place our current horses into adoptive homes before we can help new horses. This is why it is actually fairly urgent that we find good homes for horses like Atticus, because then when we get calls about horses like Ruby, who desperately need our help, we need to have room for them. Atticus deserves a home of his own, he doesn’t need to be at a rescue any more. He’ll make someone a great friend…and by offering Atticus a home, it may also mean that we’re able to save another horse like Ruby. Two for the price of one? You can’t beat that deal!!
Atticus has been very spunky and playful in turnout, now that he’s settled back in at Safe Harbor. He continues to have food aggression issues and does not want anyone near his food. Our volunteers are being trained to ask him to back him up before they enter his stall to deliver his mash. He did have a very sizable abscess that popped on his right hind heel bulb. He wouldn’t let me soak it afterwards but did allow me to irrigate and get antibacterial ointment on it.
With the lack of turnout we have available at SHS, Atticus needs to be hand walked as often as possible or else he stocks up behind. We’re still hoping that someone with a big heart will come along soon and offer him a good home where he can have lots of room to graze and wander around. He sure did enjoy his time at Brittney’s and we’d love to see him back on pasture most or all of the day.
So Atticus has returned to Safe Harbor — his wonderful foster home had to bid him Adieu when one of their horses came home from training. He’s looking like a million bucks, by the way, he had a great winter hanging out with SAFE alum Deeds. Terry turned him out in the arena the other day for some social time with our other handsome Arab gelding, Oscar, and the two of them had a great time getting to know each other. But everyone had to laugh when the two boys started marching around the perimeter of the arena, with Atticus in front and Oscar directly behind him, close enough to be holding onto his tail! It was quite comical. Horses do the darndest things sometimes!
Atticus had an vet exam today, and Dr. Penny feels he is nearly up to weight. He has a fat pad at the tail head! She drew blood for a follow up liver enzymes test, and we should have results tomorrow. She checked his mouth and found nothing unusual to explain his lack of desire to eat timothy hay…of course, he eats alfalfa just fine…go figure!!
Atticus was released from the vet hospital last week and was transported to SAFE Harbor Stables. Six weeks post rescue, he is feeling a lot better…in fact the excitement of moving caused him to get quite amped up! He loaded well into the trailer, but was fairly fractious on the ride home, which resulted in him nicking one of his hind fetlocks and bleeding in the trailer…not what you want to see when you open those doors! The wound was pretty superficial, and once he regained his sense of calm, he allowed it to be cleaned without too much fuss.
Atticus is now living in a stall/paddock in the main barn, next door to Kai and with a good view of the six mares that reside in the other two barns. He’s particularly fascinated by the lovely Miss Savannah, and spends his afternoon staring wistfully in her direction. His eyes have taken on a wonderful look of calm contentment, and he seems to be adjusting to the ebb and flow of activity at the barn. He is still dragging his hind toe at the walk, and we are keeping a careful eye on him. We’re hoping that as he continues to gain weight and build back his strength, the toe dragging will diminish. If it doesn’t we may have to do some diagnostic lameness testing to see what is going on in his hind end.
Atticus has been enjoying his play time in the indoor arena, and he had a great time rolling in the sand and exploring his surroundings. The first time he got up from a roll, he had a bit of difficulty standing back up, but the next 4 or 5 times he attempted it, he did just fine. It’s nice to see this sweet old man enjoying himself and feeling more like a normal horse!
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If you’ve been following local news, you may already know that SAFE is involved in an animal cruelty case involving two horses in the City of Snohomish. The horses first came to the attention of Snohomish police after neighbors reported seeing an emaciated horse on a property within the city limits. Officer Dawn Davis found two horses living on the property, one who was extremely underweight and malnourished. She advised the owners on proper horse care and feeding, giving them three weeks to turn the situation around. When she followed up on the case three weeks later, she found the thin horse’s condition had not improved. She also discovered that the other horse on the property was severely lame and could barely walk. She contacted SAFE, and fortunately we had space available and were able to help with the situation.
The two horses were surrendered to the City of Snohomish police department, and signed over to SAFE. They were immediately transferred to NWESC to be examined by Dr Hannah. She determined that the thin horse, “Atticus” was a 1.5 on the Henneke scale, with protruding ribs, spine, hips, and shoulders. At about 150 pounds underweight, Atticus is very lucky that Officer Davis took action when she did.
The second horse, who we named “Scout,” was not so lucky. The condition of her hooves indicated that she had foundered badly at some point in the past, and x-rays revealed that her coffin bones were severely rotated. When she was removed from her home, she was suffering an acute bout of laminitis, and her pain was so severe that she was reluctant to even take a step forward. Efforts were made to control her pain while she was being examined by the vet, but in the end, it was decided that too much damage had been done and the kindness thing would be to let her go and end her suffering. Scout was humanely euthanized the morning after she was surrendered.
The loss of Scout had a profound effect on Atticus. Atticus was given the chance to see her body after she was put down to say goodbye, but for days afterwards, he would call for her and look for her. Atticus is making new friends, but it’s hard for him, given his age and how close he and Scout were. It’s our hope that once Atticus is fully recovered from his ordeal, we can find him a new home where he can live out the rest of his life in comfort and safety. He would make a great companion for another lonely horse, and he certainly deserves a good home after everything he has been through.Atticus is receiving careful treatment to help him recover from the neglect he suffered. His dietary intake is being carefully monitored to help his regain the weight he has lost without upsetting his digestive system. Atticus is looking and feeling much better after three weeks of proper care, but he still has a long way to go. He is definitely improving but his appearance is still quite shocking. His ribs are still visible, his spine is still protruding, and his hip and shoulder bones are still jutting out. He is also showing signs of lameness that may preclude him from ever being ridden.
The cost to care for the neglected horses is an ongoing challenge for SAFE and the public’s financial help is needed. SAFE has already spent close to $2,000, just in the first month of caring for these two horses. The veterinary costs alone have been significant. And Atticus will be in our care for many more months before we can even think of offering him for adoption. And as with most of our companion horses, it will take time to find him a new home.
The City of Snohomish still plans to bring Animal Cruelty charges against the owners of Atticus and Scout, so at this point in time, we can’t share much more information about them. We don’t want Scout to be forgotten and she will be memorialized on this site when we are able to do so, in hopes that her story will somehow help other horses not suffer her fate.
SNOHOMISH — Police here are recommending animal cruelty charges against the owner of two horses that apparently were so poorly cared for that one had to be euthanized.
The case was investigated in August and September, Snohomish Police Chief John Flood said Thursday. The owner initially was given a chance to improve care, but when it became clear there was insufficient improvement, steps were taken to place the animals with Save a Forgotten Equine, a nonprofit rescue organization, Flood said.
A veterinarian determined the horses were suffering from malnutrition and one was euthanized because of significant damage, Flood said. “The second horse is being cared for by SAFE and is showing signs of improvement,” he said. The results of the police investigation have been sent to prosecutors for review.
The cost of the horses’ care has been borne by the rescue group. So far, the organization has incurred more than $2,000 in expenses, Flood said.
The police chief said donations can be made directly to SAFE at https://www.safehorses.org or in care of the Snohomish Police Department, 230 Maple Ave. Feed donations or purchases also can be made at Snohomish Co-op, 168 Lincoln Ave.