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Ill horses may be a result of malice, local horse stable and animal researchers say

Posted at 2:26 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 17:16:36-05

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - It is still a mystery at New Hope Stable in Hertford, even a month after their horses got sick.

"The latest on the horses, some of them are doing a lot better,” Nancy Harrell, with New Hope Stable, said. But as soon as they feel better, they would get sick again.

News 3 introduced you to the horses in October. The horses were struck with an illness that not even the stable or animal researchers could pinpoint.

"We feel absolutely defeated,” Harrell said. “We've reached out to every organization we can think of -- every hospital, every vet, everywhere, and we're just not getting any answers."

Researchers now say they now believe their illness is a result of malice.

"Our vet, the people at NC State, the specialist, the poison center there, the Department of Agriculture, everybody that's looked at the testing has said that our horses have most likely been poisoned,” Harrell said.

The stable was turned into a makeshift triage for the horses where volunteers and the riders tended to the horses, day and night. The horses had bags of IV connected to them and were closely monitored.

We reported four horses died since the horses caught the illness in late September. That number has not changed.

Testing and care is still being done, but it has racked up expenses.

"The bags of IV are a $150, every vet call is $500,” Harrell said.

Support is coming in many ways -- a barbecue fundraiser was held on Friday in Elizabeth City. It was set up by the stable riders and a local restaurant donated the food. Roughly 800 plates were preordered

Harrell said support also came from across the nation after the story broke. She added a donor from California reached out to them to provide the stable a security system at no charge.

"Just as astronomical as the vet bill is, the outpouring of support from the community has been just as astronomical,” Harrell said.

A GoFundMe for the stable is still accepting donations for medical bills. The goal is $200,000 and is almost a quarter of the way there.

This weekend - Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 - Small Town Trendz will donate 30 percent of all in-store and online purchases made to New Hope Stable.

The stores are located at :

  • Small Town Trendz, 220 Ocean Highway South, Hertford, N.C., 27944
  • Small Town Trendz, 509 East Main Street, Elizabeth City, N.C., 27909