FARMINGTON — A state animal welfare humane agent went over the basics of keeping horses healthy Tuesday at a 4-H Horse Camp held at the Starbird Building on the Farmington Fairgrounds.

Agent Sue Metzger gave the horse enthusiasts a brief rundown of cases in which animals had to be seized from owners because of abuse. She brought a display of before-and-after pictures to show how the animals progressed while they were being cared for.

She also told the kids that some of the animals were severely emaciated and living in such bad conditions that they could not be saved.

Metzger even brought one of the animals, Tonka, a pit bull she adopted as a newborn after animals were seized.

“Tonka is an awesome dog,” Metzger said, as the dog rolled over and kicked its legs in the air in a playful manner.

Pit bulls often get a bad rap, but with the right breeding, disposition and upbringing, the animals are good dogs, she said.

Metzger encouraged the campers to go out and educate others about proper animal care. And if they see what they believe is abuse, they should report it, she said.

Addressing horse care, Metzger said it was important to know the animals’ health. Owners should do body scores by rating horses from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese). A score of 5 is just right, Metzger said.

“An overweight horse is just as bad as an underweight horse,” she said.

Ross told the participants that the public can be a big help to animal control officers and humane agents in helping to protect abused animals.

She warned the camp attendees to be cautious when out with their animals because it is rabies season. She has had two cases recently of rabies in two towns in her area.

Ross and Metzger went outside to meet Shannon Snyder, a junior leader with the Mountain Viewers 4-H Club, who had brought Titan, a quarterhorse.

Metzger and Ross used the horse to demonstrate how to take a horse’s vital signs.

Lexi Lloyd, 11, of Jay, said she loved horse camp. “It’s awesome.” 

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Sue Metzger, right, a state animal welfare humane agent, teaches participants in 4-H Horse Camp how to take the vital signs of a horse on Tuesday. Holding horse Titan’s reins is junior leader Shannon Snyder, left; hidden behind the horse is Animal Control Officer Kathleen Ross. The camp is being held at the Farmington Fairgrounds.

Lexi Lloyd, 11, of Jay, left, and Rachel Roy, 11, of Wilton look at photographs of abused animals Tuesday prior to a presentation at the 4-H Horse Camp being held at the Farmington Fairgrounds.

Kathleen Ross, right, standing in front, talks Tuesday at 4-H Horse Camp about animals at the Starbird Building on the Farmington Fairgrounds. To Ross’s right is Sue Metzger, a state animal welfare humane agent who gave an overview of her job and horse care.

Participants at the 4-H Horse Camp being held at the Farmington Fairgrounds were taught Tuesday how to take a horse’s vital signs. Holding horse Titan’s reins is junior leader Shannon Snyder. Maine animal welfare humane agent, Sue Metzger, right, explains how to take the signs as Animal Control Officer Kathleen Ross, left, looks on.


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