VIROQUA — A town of Viroqua horse rescue owner filed three restraining orders Monday against people she said are harassing her after social media blew up with accusations that she was neglecting horses on her farm.
The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Monday, informing the public about the rescue. According to the sheriff’s office, it has received numerous calls reporting neglect or mistreatment of animals. There have been pictures and videos of the horses posted on social media and many people commenting on them.
Amanda Everhart, 26, a single mother of two, with one on the way, co-owns the Wisconsin Horse Rescue with her boyfriend.
“He provides the rent, and I provide for the horses’ care,” Everhart said of the 50-acre farm.
Everhart allowed a veterinarian to examine the animals on her property Saturday, according to the sheriff’s office. “The veterinarian reports the animals are being fed and taken care of at an appropriate level. Some of the animals are thin and look to be in poor health; however, this is not because of neglect or some other treatable disease,” Sheriff John Spears said in his statement.
Spears says that harassment of Everhart or trespassing on her property will not be tolerated.
Everhart said it’s a case of cyberbullying.
One video zooms in on a pair of horses. The person filming it is standing next to a vehicle yelling at people on the farm saying the horse is thin.
The horse they are referring to is Phoenix, who was surrendered Nov. 27. “She came in starved and was skin and bones … and she was covered in barbed-wire cuts; the halter was embedded in her face,” Everhart said. “She has a bald spot on her face that I flushed with penicillin, I cleaned her feet, Coggins tested her.” The test checks for a virus.
Everhart said that when Phoenix was surrendered, she was told the horse was 21 years old; however, Everhart’s veterinarian estimates that the horse is 30 years old. According to Everhart, Phoenix weighed between 600 and 800 pounds when she arrived, and now weighs between 900 and 1,000 pounds.
Everhart said she sold her motorcycle, two trucks and two cars to help “just to save her (Phoenix) and put money toward the other horses. I was getting donations until the untrue stories.”
“I don’t know what I did to prompt this,” she said.
She said since October she has been cleaning up the farm. “I made it beautiful and I made a home for these horses.”
Since October, 20 horses have been in and out of the rescue. “Every one of them has found a permanent home,” Everhart said. “I will take any horse and in any condition.”
Currently there are eight horses on the rural Viroqua property, including Phoenix, a video of which was posted on Facebook June 24.
Everhart has hung no-trespassing signs on the property.