Lily, the grey mare shot up to 130 times with a paint-ball gun in Pennsylvania, now has her head bandages off after surgery on both her eyes last Thursday.
The Arabian/Appaloosa pony cross mare, believed to be aged about 20, is continuing to make good strides under the care of staff at the New Bolton Center, the large animal hospital which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school.
The Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, which has assumed responsibility for Lily and is fundraising to meet her veterinary bills, says she is looking bright.
Omega’s Kelly Smith, in an update on Facebook, said: “My heart is crying happy tears. Lily has gotten cards and treats sent to the hospital and loves everything that has been sent to her. The cards are touching, like the one from Harry – another rescue horse that we helped.
“So tonight there are two more at the hospital from a kill pen who need special prayers,” she told Omega’s Facebook followers.
She continued: “Thank you so much again for everything that each of our fans and supporters do to help horses. We need to raise an additional $US6000 to help another group of horses. Please consider making a donation so that we can assist the group that is waiting.”
Lily’s case made headlines around the world after she was abandoned on March 14 at auction yards in New Holland, Pennsylvania. She was in poor condition and her grey coat bore the stains from hits from up to 130 paint-balls.
Lily – she was named after being found – was given veterinary care at the scene, which enabled the Lancaster County SPCA to transport her to the New Bolton Center.
Responsibility for Lily transferred to Omega Horse Rescue on March 18, and last Thursday Lily underwent surgery to remove her badly diseased right eye and to treat the ulcers in her left eye.
The surgery was performed by Dr Nikki Scherrer.
Omega says the initial minimum estimated cost for Lily’s stay at the New Bolton Center was $US8000, but that did not include the surgery.
A GoFundMe page has so far raised $US4120 towards her care.
Meanwhile, reward money for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting Lily with paint pellets has hit $US10,000.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) added $US5000 to the reward, doubling the existing reward pool, which comprises $US4000 from the animal advocacy group PETA and $US1000 from a private contributor.
Kirsten Tullo, the Pennsylvania state director for the HSUS, said: “Lily is one of the sweetest and most gentle souls I have ever encountered.
“There is no excuse for wounding defenseless animals like this horse in Lancaster. We hope our reward will help find the perpetrator of this horrible crime.”
Susan Martin, the executive director of the Lancaster County SPCA said: “It takes a truly callous person to shoot a horse with a paint-ball gun more than 100 times. We are hopeful that the HSUS’ reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous crime.”
The Lancaster County SPCA is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 717-917-6979 or email [email protected]. All calls will be kept anonymous.