An animal abuse case out of Mississippi is so unimaginable, it has caught the attention of hundreds on social media.
The victim is a miniature horse named willow. She was rescued from a home in Mississippi and she is now in East Texas.
Kim Sella is not just the Equine team lead at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, which is a world-renown sanctuary for abused animals…she's devoted her life to the cause.
So when she was scrolling on Facebook and saw the post about a mini-horse that had been abused and essentially tortured, she called the Mississippi Animal Rescue League.
"As soon as they confirmed it I said well okay I want to give her a forever home because I just couldn't believe what she'd been through,” Sella said. “It's kind of unfathomable, you can explain it and say okay these are the facts but to me it's beyond despicable."
Kim said the man who had allegedly abused Willow was found dead in his home by family members. They just happened to open the storage room and discovered Willow. Kim says her tail had been cut off at the base of the spine so the man could have easier access to her. Willow had been stapled shut so she would not make as much mess when she relived herself.
"I was furious," Kim said.
Kim said she has seen detestable animal abuse cases but she says Willow's is one of the worst. Willow was grossly malnourished and kept alive with mostly water, and had rope burns on her hind legs. It has impaired her ability to walk, Kim said.
"You'll see her kind of walk wobbly on her hind end and that's because her legs were tied,” sid Kim, “There may have been some tendon damage there."
Now that Willow is here in the Lone Star State, her missing tail is more of an issue than some might think.
"Tails are really important to horses especially in Texas and in areas that have lots of flies to keep the flies off," Kim explained.
Willow had so much tissue damage, Kim said the vet considered euthanizing her.
"They asked themselves if she had been through too much mentally, will she ever have the quality of life and their vet said, if anyone has ever deserved a second chance at life, it's this little mini," said Kim.
Kim has personally adopted Willow into her own home.
Now, Kim's main concern now is making sure Willow has the best forever after possible, starting with the best beginning possible. Thus, Willow got her own welcome home party.
Kim's team of co-workers at Black Beauty Ranch took their lunch hour to come by Kim’s place to commemorate the start of Willow's new life in East Texas.
"Her life needs to be celebrated,” said Libby Schmidl. “She's had such a horrific life that now it's her time to be happy, it's her time to retire."
For this group of people, healing abused animals is a passion and an honor.
"Immediately they said to me, let's throw a party," Kim said smiling.
At first Willow was not sure what to do with her party treats but she quickly figured it out.
"For Willow, we really truly want to make her feel at home with this party and make her life happy again," said Rebecca Woodward.
Willow met Kim’s other rescue pets at the party. The tiny horse even established some ground rules about who is the new head honcho in town, neighing and stomping at a horse five times her size.
"Would not surprise me at all if she's queen of the herd,” Kim said. “That tends to happen a lot when it comes to minis.
Libby said seeing her interact with other horses for the first time is priceless.
"That was probably the first time she's ever met another horse,” Libby said. “Those moments are what make it all great."
Libby said the transformation Willow is going through is something she has seen before. They have had evil experiences but when they are rescued into a place of love, she says their little personalities start coming out.
As if they know they are finally home.
"It's something to learn amongst ourselves,” Libby said. “Don't dwell in the past and just know that you have everything in front of you, and that life can change in a moment's notice."
Kim says people from all over have asked how they can help Willow. If you'd like to follow Willow's progress, Kim has set up a Facebook page called "Healing Willow," where she posts updates regularly.
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