Comedian Jon Stewart and his wife are giving a recently discarded mare her forever home at their New Jersey animal sanctuary.
Lily was reportedly shot more than 100 times with paint balls. Omega Horse Rescue & Rehabilitation Center’s Kelly Smith found the emaciated mare seemingly abandoned at the New Holland Sales Stable after an auction in March.
An animal abuse investigation ensued due to the mare’s emaciated condition, body soreness and overall poor health. Lily was barely able to see, according to Smith, because she was blind in one eye and the other was swollen shut. The Lancaster County SPCA investigated the abuse case and said the mare was shot with paint balls.
Lily underwent eye surgery at New Bolton Center to remove her right eye. She has been recovering.
Lily’s adoption became final Friday with her grand entrance at Bufflehead Farm with Tracey Stewart. Lily will live out her remaining days at the farm. The Stewarts also adopted Lily’s pasture buddy Anita, who Smith rescued in 2015.
Lily’s story has a happy ending, but she is one of the lucky ones. And that is only because rescuer Smith saw something and said something.
We now know how the aged mare ended up in the hands of horse trader and convicted animal abuser Philip Price of Rhode Island. Lily’s former owner Doreen Weston, of New Jersey, gave the mare to Price.
Weston owns Smoke Hollow Farm in Pittstown which offers horse boarding, training of American Saddlebreds, and horseback riding lessons. Lily was a school horse at the stable. Weston says, “she was a great horse, but she became a danger to us, herself and the children here.”
Although Weston no longer had a need for Lily, she says she thought Price could find the mare her next home. “I’ve bought horses from him before,” Weston defends.
Horses like Lily who outlive their usefulness are often seen as a burden or disposable after providing years of money making services for their owners. Weston adds she probably spent more on the mare’s eye and health issues than the mare brought her in revenue.
Weston is speaking out on the day of Lily’s adoption to dispute claims the mare was shot with paint balls. “Its a lie.”
Weston contends the mare was used for children’s finger painting parties.
Weston says she contacted Lancaster County SPCA Director Susan Martin and spoke with her about the finger painting parties, but the paint ball misinformation was allowed to persist. Weston says her subsequent messages to Martin have not been returned.
We left the SPCA’s Martin a phone message, but never received a call back.
When we asked Weston why she didn’t have the mare humanely euthanized Weston said, “I will not have something winched up – [its] not a pretty sight for something you’ve loved, I assure you.”
And Weston says she did what she thought was best for her people.
Weston adds she did nothing illegal. She wasn’t so confident when asked if what she did was ethical.
Weston admits her reputation in the horse community is suffering due to the situation, but says she is happy it “worked out” for the mare.