It's really quite disturbing to see how cruel some people can be to animals. The volunteers from "Animaux en Péril" (Animals in Peril) face this every day, but a recent case involving a Shetland Pony named Poly left them stunned.
Poly's hooves had been neglected for 10 years and had deformed to the point of turning into long, curved horns. The poor pony could hardly stand never mind walk. The volunteers knew they had to act fast.
First, they gave Poly a much needed haircut and freed the animal from its mangy, flea-ridden coat. Poly's hooves took a lot more work. The volunteers had to use some pretty heavy tools to trim her feet back into shape. Despite the procedure, the rescuers couldn't be sure that it would be enough — after such a long time on the overgrown hooves, the pony had probably developed problems with its posture.
Poor Poly had also been living in some horrid conditions. Her stall was covered with a two-foot thick layer of manure.
The owner had obviously not done anything for Poly. She was terribly undernourished and weighed only 165 lbs — the normal weight for a pony her size is around 440 lbs! When they found her, Poly was literally skin and bones.
The skin under Poly's lice-infested coat was so badly infected that she needed a medicated bath. The rescuers washed her delicately — it was the first time in a long while that the tortured animal had felt anything resembling affection.
The volunteers brought Poly back the Animaux en Péril shelter and gave her lots to eat.
After being washed and having her hooves trimmed up, Poly was looking much better and could look forward to a much happier life. But her rescuers could clearly see that she was traumatized by her experience: "Under this kind of torture, time seems to drag on for an eternity," they explained. Hopefully Poly will be able to put the horrors of her past behind her.
No creature deserves to be neglected like this. The owner is now facing criminal charges and could be sentenced to a prison term for violating animal protection laws. But at least this story has a happy ending and Poly can look forward to a better future.