MOIRA — An emaciated horse at the center of a social-media frenzy is slowly putting on weight, authorities say.
And the woman who now owns it, says Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, actually rescued the horse and has had it under veterinary care.
”She should be viewed as the hero and not vilified,” he said.
Images of the sorrel horse circulating on Facebook show a virtually fleshless animal, its hip and other bones jutting out sharply, ribs exposed.
Facebook and Topix Moira posts called for the equine to be taken away from owners Brenda Shampo and Frank Burgess Jr.
State Police have been swamped this week by phone and email messages reporting what was perceived as animal cruelty, Troop B Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman said in an email to the Press-Republican.
The horse and another one owned by Shampo and Burgess, who live on Clark Street in Moira, “have been moved to an undisclosed location to continue receiving care,” she said.
Their veterinarian is Dr. Judy Alishauskas of Malone, Fleishman said.
The animals have not been seized, she emphasized, and no charges have been filed against Shampo and Burgess.
A veterinarian who has been checking on the 26-year-old horse for State Police has reported “a slow and steady progress of improving health,” Champagne said.
“It’s a slow process, the nurturing it back to health,” he said. “The horse is gaining weight — the photos out there aren’t accurate.”
The frenzy over the horse, he said, “is another prime example about how Facebook and Topix and other mechanisms out there can be used in not necessarily a beneficial way.”
He appreciates the care and concern that has driven the spread of the story about the horse, he said, but people should recognize that all they read on the Internet is not true — and they should hesitate before they pass it along to others.