Horse rescued from starvation still struggling

MONROE — Whisper, the horse rescued from a Snohomish field, lived through the weekend, but she’s not out of danger yet, said her caretaker.

“We’ll keep trying for her as long as she shows us she wants to live,” said Jaime Taft, the caretaker by e-mail this morning.

Taft’s nonprofit equine rescue organization took the filly in last week after police seized Whisper and two other maltreated horses. The filly, weak from a lack of food and covered in sores, had been perking up under the care of the organization, Save a Forgotten Equine, run by Taft at her Monroe farm. Friday’s cold temperatures hit the filly hard, and her caretakers feared she wouldn’t live through the weekend if they couldn’t find a heated stall.

Someone did offer the use of a heated stall but the call came too late to move the filly Saturday. Instead, her caretakers moved her to an enclosed stall and brought in heaters.

Even with those measures, the filly kept laying down. It’s not unusual for horses to lay down, but in Whisper’s weakened conditioned, it can be nearly impossible for a horse to stand on her own. The longer a weak horse lays down, the colder and weaker she can become. It took seven people to heave the 600-pound horse to her feet Friday morning. Even in the enclosed stall, Whisper kept laying down. A rotating crew of helpers were on call to rush to her stall and pull her to her feet.

“When she’s up, she continues to be bright and perky, but when she is down she has been laboring and breathing hard,” Taft said. “Her fever is now a bigger concern, it’s been as high as 102.4 and she’s now on IV antibiotics. She’s definitely not out of the woods yet, but hopefully the worst of the weather concerns is behind us.”

Now the organization is searching for a sling-and-hoist system that could be fitted to a stall. That way, they could keep Whisper standing without summoning half a dozen helpers. If you can help, call Taft.

To reach Taft, call 206-484-2741.

The nonprofit also could use donations of cash and feed, including orchard grass hay, alfalfa pellets, senior feed, rice bran pellets and vegetable oil. These can be delivered to 27706 Old Owen Road, Monroe.

Checks, made out to SAFE, can be mailed to: SAFE c/o Bonnie Hammond, 12236 Old Frontier Road NW, Silverdale, WA 98383.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or

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