BETHEL, Conn. -- Danielle Cyr knew instantly the horses she agreed to board for a New York owner were fighting significant medical issues. Now one horse has died and the 26-year-old Bethel woman is coping with the expenses of nursing the other horse, Chance, back to health while also trying to understand the inhumane treatment of animals.
- Who: Danielle Cyr, Bethel
- What: Coping with medical expenses for a horse, Chance, after its owner reneged on promises for treatment
- Donate: On a GoFundMe page. Click here.
“I thought this was going to be a temporary thing and I would board the horses and rehabilitate them,’’ said Cyr, who boards horses at a property in Redding. “When I saw the horses, I almost cried. My boyfriend was appalled. He knew right away this something was seriously wrong. The horses did not look anything like we saw in pictures.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Cyr pay large medical expenses for Chance, a 15-year-old Gypsy Vanner Cob cross who is severely underweight, fighting eye cancer.
Cyr agreed in December to care for Chance and another horse, Sterling, for an owner in New York. The horses were transported from Louisiana. Cyr agreed to feed, care and help rehabilitate the horses, while the owner would pay for food and medical attention the horses required.
“I offered my care for them and feeding them,’’ Cyr said. “I was not making any money doing this. I had done this for dogs, and never had any issues.”
Cyr, who has been riding and caring for horses for nearly 20 years and works part-time at a Monroe horse farm, said the horses arrived in an overcrowded and unsafe trailer.
“There’s room for six or eight horses, and there were 14 crammed in there,’’ Cyr said. “There was 2 inches of feces and urine on the floor. There was a halter on the ground around one of the horse’s legs. I bent to get it and it was dripping in urine. The horses were not secured. They said they gave them water and hay, but I have my doubts.”
The horses had been rescued from a kill pen. Sterling was also severely malnourished and could barely stand. Both of them had cuts and abrasions, and Cyr worried that the three horses she already owned might be susceptible to infection. “Sterling and Chance had health certificates, but I don’t think they were accurate,’’ Cyr said. “I was terrified that my horses might become infected.”
Sterling weighed about 800 pounds, Cyr said, about 300 to 500 pounds less than an average horse of that size. She thought the horse should have been put down immediately, but the owner resisted. When Sterling fell a second time in early January, Cyr made the difficult decision to have a veterinarian put it down.
Cyr took over sole ownership of Chance on Feb. 1. Chance needs surgery for his eye, and Cyr has taken over financial responsibility. She works part-time and is receiving support from her boyfriend, Gene Santossio, and other friends to help care for Chance.
Remarkably, the horse that has been through so much has quickly fallen in love with his new owner. “He’s such a good horse,’’ Cyr said. “He’s become so attached to me. He lets me walk him around, and he trusts me to put medicine in his eye. All my other horses have also become attached to him.”
Danielle also has a rare physical connection with Chance. She, too, is fighting melanoma in one of her eyes. “At the same time as we’re making decisions about how to go about treatment for him and his eye, I have been having to make the same decisions about my own eye and treatment for myself,’’ she said.
Cyr hopes to have her own rescue horse down the road. The neglect and inhumane treatment of Chance and Sterling have overwhelmed her, and she wants to give Chance the care and respect that every animal deserves.
“Never in my life have I seen a horse this neglected,’’ Cyr said. “Everyone has been so supportive. The landlord where I keep the horses has been great. Gene had to baby proof the stall because Chance kept bumping into everything. Hopefully, we can raise some money and get the surgery done.”
Click here to visit the GoFundMe page to support Cyr and the medical expenses for Chance.
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