A Rhode Island man who allegedly ditched a paint-covered, neglected horse at a Lancaster County stable is now charged with animal cruelty, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Vets said Lily, a 20-year-old white Arabian pony mare, was shot more than 125 times with a paintball gun after she was discovered with multicolored blotches of paint all over her coat.
Phillip S. Price, 65, who was formally charged March 30, dropped Lily off at New Holland Sales Stables, where a horse sale was taking place on March 14, prosecutors said.
However the horse was not checked in as a "horse for sale," according to the Lancaster County SPCA, and was believed to have been abandoned after the sale was over.
The horse was thin, had an untreated eye infection, was blind in her right eye and was covered in paint splotches at the time.
Though vets and the SPCA said they believe Lily was hit by paintballs, prosecutors have not yet charged anyone with that specific crime, said Lancaster County DA’s office spokesman Brett Hambright.
“Obviously there was paint all over the horse, but we're not accusing anyone of paint-balling the horse,” Hambright said.
Now Price, who was identified as having left the horse at the stables after surveillance footage was reviewed, faces three charges for animal cruelty, including for not treating Lily’s eye for a medical condition that caused her undue stress and pain. He is also charged with dealing and handling animals without a license, and transporting and attempting to sell a lame horse.
Price allegedly drove Lily to New Holland from New Jersey.
Lily was found in pain in a back stall in the stables by the Lancaster County SPCA, who brought her to Penn Vet Bolton Center in Kennett Square, where she received surgery to remove her infected eye.
She is now recovering and gaining weight and is available for adoption.
“Lily is just the sweetest horse,” said Dr. Nikki Scherrer, New Bolton Center opthalmology resident, in a post on their Facebook page. “We're just thrilled with how well she's doing. She's getting back to being a normal horse, finally."
If convicted, Price could face a $750 fine per charge, along with restitution to cover the costs of Lily’s medical care.
A reward of $10,000 is being offered for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.