An animal loving couple, Doug and Deb Hannestad, adopted several horses out of a herd of 150 underfed and abused horses from the William Kiefer herd. Their mares – called Krystal, Ruby, Diamond, Princess, Karmel and Ginger – arrived in the new location after a lengthy trailer ride. At their immediate disposal was a 1,000 pound hay bale. The horses were starved and they went for the hay.
Hannestad told the Grand Forks Herald, "They ate hay for almost 12 straight hours."
The six horses have been with the Hannestads for a couple of months now. Slowly but surely their ribs are receding and their spines are no longer so prominent. From their original poor condition of having lost at least a third of their body weight, the mares are showing the steady care and nourishment. Hannestad estimates each horse has regained at least 100 pounds.
Kiefer, who owned at least 150 of the starving horses, faces misdemeanor charges. Authorities found almostly 100 dead horses on his property and the remaining animals were starving. The confiscated horses have all been adopted.
Hannestad said, "These horses haven't been physically abused. When we first saw them, they all were bright-eyed and alert, with ears up. They weren't hanging their heads nor were they scared of us. They just hadn't gotten anything to eat for quite a while."
Their mares were among the few lucky ones that had not suffered prolonged starvation. Nor had they been abused. They were simply shy from nonhandling. That is all changing for the six mares at the Hannestads. They get daily care and attention.
The Hannestads have a great affection for horses and other animals. Before they adopted the six mares, they already owned three other horses.
Hannestad laughs, "When it's time for them to eat, you need to get out of the way."
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