ENOCH – The “miracle” rescue of Anna and her 18-month-old filly, Elsa, has sparked a tremendous outpouring of support for these victims of neglect. Meanwhile, their owner is facing charges for animal cruelty.
On Jan. 2, a concerned citizen contacted Iron County dispatch to report a sighting of two horses in obvious distress. Enoch Animal Control responded to the scene and found a dirty and emaciated mare standing near a young filly, barely alive and lying prone.
“We got her rolled onto blankets to get her out of the mud and frozen ground, and covered her up,” Officer Chris Johnson said. “I honestly didn’t think she’d make it off the property (alive).”
The filly was given medical attention, including antibiotics and fluids, by Dr. Leilani Wilson of the Parowan Valley Veterinary Clinic and Ginger Grimes, owner of the Dust Devil Ranch Sanctuary for Horses. A team of volunteers then carried her onto a trailer bound for the ranch, and safety.
Upon arriving, the horses’ condition was further evaluated. Though extremely malnourished and in poor health, the mare was not their top concern.
The filly, with open wounds and too sick to even stand on her own, was given a 20 percent chance of survival. She weighed approximately 350 pounds, half the normal size of a horse her age; so emaciated she had been eating small rocks and gravel.
Volunteers insulated her stable, brought in portable heaters and wrapped her in blankets in an effort to raise her dangerously low body temperature. Taking shifts to keep care going day and night, Grimes and her staff administered fluids, helped her eat, massaged her legs and provided her the comfort of helping hands. They also gave them their new names, after characters from the 2013 Disney animated film “Frozen.”
Elsa’s spirits began to lift when volunteers brought Anna into the stable for a visit. She has also befriended the ranch dog, Dingo, who Grimes said refuses to leave her side.
As of Saturday, Anna is recovering quickly and expected to return to full health in the coming months. When she completes rehabilitation, she will likely be adopted. Grimes said that the ranch has already been contacted by interested owners.
Elsa’s chances of survival have risen to 80 percent. Her body temperature, still below normal, requires that she be wrapped almost 24 hours a day. She is fatigued and can only stand for a few hours. There’s a long road ahead, but she has made remarkable progress.
“It’s a miracle she’s come so far. This little one is so determined,” Grimes said. “We are working very hard around the clock to give her the best possible chance.”
Her prognosis is not definite, but Grimes said veterinarians believe she will have permanent damage to her right eye, liver and kidney issues, and possibly a permanent injury to her left front leg, though she can still enjoy a relatively normal and healthy life. She will remain on the Dust Devil Ranch.
While Elsa and Anna remain in the care of the Dust Devil Ranch, their owner has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty, a class-B misdemeanor. The crime carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months, with additional possible penalties to be determined at the discretion of the Iron County Justice Court.
Because the case is still open, the individual’s name and address where the horses were found won’t be released, Enoch Police Department Sgt. Mike Berg said.
Elsa and Anna’s rescue story has garnered media attention across the nation and worldwide, from The Weather Channel to the Daily Mail. Animal lovers around the globe have offered words of encouragement via social media, along with praise for Grimes and her staff.
A nonprofit organization, the Dust Devil Ranch has a special donation fund on their website to help with Elsa and Anna’s care. There are also volunteer opportunities available for those with equine knowledge.
To find out how you can help, visit the ranch’s Facebook page or call 435-275-8525.
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