September 20, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 38

Neglected horses recover in Skagway, Yukon

In a twist that seems poetic justice, two horses that nearly starved to death in Haines last winter have found a new home at a Yukon hay farm.

Darren Moe, who operates a hay-growing operation near Dezadeash Lake, acquired Crown and Rappie about a month ago. “The boys are really happy,” he said. “They have all the grass they could want” in the pasture, and he supplements that with grain and hay.

At 18 years old, the horses have 10 years of easy work left if they want it, he said. He said Haines volunteers who took care of the pair “did a wonderful job” and he has invited them and their children up for rides next spring.

A third horse, Bailey, was acquired by Jeff and Dorothy Brady of Skagway and is kept in Dyea.

Dorothy Brady, who owns another horse, said she has been lavishing love (and hay) on her “900-pound pets.” Bailey has gained 100 pounds and they expect her to gain 100 more over the next year, she said.

An intestinal ulcer, perhaps caused by the stress of earlier neglect, has slowed Bailey’s recovery, Brady said.

“We feel we got a wonderful horse,” she said. “She is maybe a bit older than the (previous owner) said that she was, but I don’t really care. She is probably one of the better horses for young kids. The kids climb all over her. She is such a calm horse. There is not a mean bone in her body.”

Resident Kate Saunders, part of a group of volunteers who had been looking after Crown and Rappie, made a recent visit to their new home. “The horses are doing great. They have a 15-acre pasture, their own barn, and the freedom to come and go.”

The three horses were kept on Comstock Road last winter, when they were discovered emaciated. In April, their previous owner pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of animal neglect.

Care of the animals was turned over to the Haines Animal Rescue Kennel and a group of volunteers led by retired veterinarian Betsy Lyons.