RUSHVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Several dead animals, and more on the verge of death, were found inside a Rushville barn on Friday. Rushville Animal Shelter says the animals were competing for resources to stay alive.
The Rush County Sheriff’s Office says it was at the Rushville Horse Sale Barn where they received reports of a dead animal. The owner, who they aren’t naming, did not cooperate with the investigation. When they went in with a search warrant, they found three dead animals and 28 more that were malnourished.
“Shock,” Rushville Animal Shelter director Kasey Hanna said. “It was shocking. You just never understand why.”
Horses, donkeys, mules and a bull all had ribs prominently showing in pictures from the shelter. The Rush County Sheriff’s Office says the building the animals were in was collapsing and there wasn’t any food or water available.
“There was absolutely no water,” Hanna said. “The animals about trampled us to get to that. Then we had animals down–specifically a donkey that it took three staff members to finally get him on his feet.”
That donkey was one the shelter took a liking to as they helped him recover, but what he had been through was too much and he died.
“That donkey had all the love and attention he could get,” Hanna said. “He really made an impact on some little girls’ hearts. And that’s what it’s about. We were there for him when he needed us.”
While four animals couldn’t be saved, Rushville Animal Shelter says this is still the biggest animal seizure they’ve seen–rescuing 27 animals at once. The sheriff’s office says the case is still under investigation.
“I mean, it’s upsetting,” Hanna said. “It’s upsetting that we’re just now really getting to a solution that we hope we’re getting to a solution. But most of all, it feels good to know that these animals are somewhere safe right now. Even as sad as it is with our little donkey passing away.”
Rushville Animal Shelter has already raised over $4,000 to help with food, boarding and veterinary care as the animals recover at rescues around the area.
“They’re doing well, considering the situation,” Hanna said. “It’s going to be a very slow recovery. Whenever you get into situations like this, it takes time. A long time to get them back where they need to be. But we are confident that we are on the right track.”
If you’d like to help these animals get taken care of, you can help donate through a GoFundMe set up for the animals or just drop in with a donation at the Rushville Animal Shelter.