BOONEVILLE – An abused horse rescued from a Booneville ranch this week will be rehabilitated, but hundreds of others still need help.
Sheila Horton, founder of the nonprofit Have A Heart Horse Rescue, said in the past few months she has seen at least 500 abused or neglected horses in Northeast Mississippi.
The most recent was an approximately 2-year-old mare confiscated Thursday evening from a Booneville resident. The Booneville Police Department responded to a call that a man was beating the horse with a baseball bat. He was charged with felony malicious injury to a livestock, said Capt. Michael Ramey.
Ramey didn’t release the name of the suspect, but Horton said it is Michael Clifton. The phone book lists a Michael Clifton at 4 County Road 1380. A woman who answered the phone at the residence Friday said Clifton was not home, and he did not immediately return a call for comment.
According to the Prentiss County Jail, Clifton was released on bond.
Horton now has possession of the horse, who suffers from numerous cuts, bruises and lacerations all over its face and body. Horton said it will recover physically but will probably have emotional scars the rest of its life.
“I just truly want everyone to realize how much abuse and neglect there is out there,” said Horton, whose operation is based in both Prentiss and Carroll counties. “And I can’t help all of these horses without some help from the public.”
For that reason, Horton is launching a food donation program. Anyone with extra hay is encouraged to donate it to Have A Heart Horse Rescue so it can be distributed to malnourished horses throughout Northeast Mississippi.
The program will feed horses allowed to remain with their owners while permitting Horton to focus on the more dire cases, such as the Booneville horse.
Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal