Jon Stewart Offers Home To Abandoned, Paint-Splattered Horse

The horse should arrive at the Stewarts’ New Jersey farm on Wednesday, where she will receive love and care for the rest of her life.

Abandoned at New Holland Auction
The aged mare, now known as Lily, was abandoned at Pennsylvania’s notorious New Holland auction. She appeared to have 130 paintball-gun marks on her, as if used for target practice. The weekly auction is frequented by kill buyers, who purchase horses for shipment to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. However, New Holland’s management cooperated with the Lancaster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in its investigation.

Omega Horse Rescue
Kelly Smith, director of Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Airville, Pennsylvania, found the mare in mid-March abandoned in a New Holland pen post-sale hours. Not only was the mare thin and in pain, but her white coat was stained with evidence of paintballs. Her eyes and teeth were in terrible condition. She had not been registered for the sale earlier in the day. Smith contacted the Lancaster County SPCA and later took the mare for veterinary treatment.

New Bolton Center
The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square is one of the most prestigious veterinary hospitals in the world. It was where the racehorse Barbaro spent eight months recuperating after breaking his leg in the 2006 Preakness Stakes (although he eventually required euthanasia). It’s where Lily went for surgery to remove one of her ulcerated eyes and to have extensive dental work done.

Smith met Tracey Stewart at New Bolton, where the latter had brought in some farm animals for treatment. The Stewarts agreed not only to adopt Lily, but also to take another mare in need, Anita, with whom Lily had bonded.

On May 20, Philip Price, 65, of Rhode Island, was convicted by a New Holland district judge on three counts of animal cruelty, one count of handling an animal without a license and one count regarding interstate transportation health requirements. He must pay $13,000 in both fines and restitution for Lily’s veterinary bills. In 2015, Price was convicted of animal cruelty after seven horses were removed from his property by the Rhode Island SPCA after being found living in “squalid conditions.”

Former school horse
Lily may have spent the past 15 years being used as a riding-lesson horse at a Pittstown, New Jersey, stable, although the barn owner denies that Lily is the mare she had Price pick up. She maintains that it was another horse that was too debilitated to give riding lessons, so she called Price to “dispose of” her. She says that 34-year-old horse did have paint on her, but it was from finger paint during a birthday party hosted at the farm. A horse that looks much like Lily is featured on the farm’s website.

From The Daily Show to animals
After leaving The Daily Show in 2015, Stewart and his wife announced they were opening their 12-acre farm in Middletown, New Jersey, as a sanctuary for abused farm animals. Earlier this year, the Stewarts purchased the historic Hockhockson Farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey, not far from their Middletown acreage, for the same purpose. The 45-acre farm had been in the same family for 200 years, with the five-bedroom house last renovated in 1939, according to the real estate listing. It was listed for $4.75 million as of October 2015. The property currently includes three barns, with 18 horse stalls. The Monmouth County Board of Agriculture approved a plan submitted by the Stewarts at its May meeting, which would permit an agricultural education center and animal sanctuary to operate on the farm. The Stewarts’ plan limits the number of animals to:

· 4 to 6 cows
· 2 to 4 pigs
· 6 to 10 sheep
· 6 to 10 goats
· 2 to 4 horses
· Up to 50 chickens

Stewart is far from the only celebrity with a farm in Colts Neck. Bruce Springsteen’s farm is just a short distance away. His daughter, Jessica, is a top show jumping rider who has represented the US in the Show Jumping World Cup .

—Jane Meggitt


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