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Beloved Mahwah horse suffers for hours, dies, after falling into farm feeder

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A severely wounded horse flailed in agony for four hours as her owner and others tried to free her from a mechanical feeder pit on a Mahwah farm before she and died, her owner told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

“Everybody is so very saddened by the situation,” attorney George F. Surgent said of the death last week of Belle, whom he said he’d had for more than 30 years.

“We all tried our best to get Belle out,” Surgent said. “We worked for hours to try to get her up. Maybe it was the ice. I don’t know. She never had a problem with the feeder before.”

Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said his officers were summoned to the Ramapo Valley Road farm around 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday by a tow company operator who’d been calling to the scene to help.

Multiple sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that Belle apparently caught a leg in a metal hay feeder and apparently panicked, tried to get free and fell in further.

Sgt. Timothy O’Hara and Officer Keith Iorio found Belle on her side, “trapped inside a metal feeding ring in a field area,” Batelli said.

She’d suffered a deep gash on her head and neck, sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , and was flailing on the icy ground inside the feeder, the chief said.

“The homeowner, and owner of the horse and an employee indicated they had been trying to free the horse from the feeder…since 5:30 p.m.,” Batelli said.

NAR Towing was called “to use its winching mechanisms to try and remove the metal feeder grates,” he said.

Surgent “also attempted to use a sawzall to cut the grates,” the chief said.

“The metal grates that made up the feeder ring were eventually removed,” Batelli said, “but the horse remained trapped in the pit, which was frozen over.”

“We tried but we couldn’t get her to stand up” after that, Surgent told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Once a horse goes down like that, it’s hard to get her back up.”

Tyco Animal Control was dispatched, along with an equine veterinarian.

“Officers administered first aid in an attempt to control the arterial bleeding from the horse’s head,” the chief said. “The veterinarian also administered pain relief medication and a mild sedative in an attempt to calm the horse down.”

Mahwah Fire Company #1 responded in an attempt to pull Belle up and onto her feet, but Surgent said she “eventually gave out.”

Her carcass was removed Wednesday afternoon.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Animal Cruelty Task Force was investigating, Batelli said.

“Everyone here is very thankful to the police department, the fire department, Carol Tyler the vet and the towing company for their help,” Surgent told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

“We all loved her and we’re all very sad,” he said.

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