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Colleferro - ENPA, IHP, IRDA and LEGAMBIENTE: “Still more animals to be rescued”


(4 March 2014)

The Associations have launched a fresh fund-raising and adoption campaign to meet the costs of the seizure. Video showing the events to date.

(watch the VIDEO:

One year on from Operation Colleferro – in which mistreated equines and cattle in the areas of Colleferro, Segni, Valmontone, Gavignano and Paliano were legally seized – there are still many animals in need of adoption. Therefore ENPA, IHP, IRDA and LEGAMBIENTE have launched a fresh fund-raising and adoption campaign to meet the costs of the seizure, such as veterinary costs, feedstuffs and transport.

Following the seizure, and once the media spotlights turned elsewhere, the Associations have carried on managing the situation, which is now rapidly becoming unsustainable: there are 5 horses still to be seized, 10 awaiting adoption, including many females who are about to give birth or have already done so. The work goes on too for the horses already given in adoption, with checkup visits, assistance where there are particular problems or situations, and the legal procedures which are now going into action. This video shows some of the principal scenes which give an idea of the operation itself:

The Associations explain: The Legal Institutions, the Authorities and the Prosecutors Offices have not contributed one euro towards the costs of the Colleferro seizure, demonstrating clearly our numerous claims to date that, without the initiative of the Associations and the general public any talk of putting an end to cruelty to animals is just fine-sounding words. We are working on the ground to change this situation, and now further action is needed. We are launching a fresh fund raising campaign so that we can rescue the remaining animals and take them to safety.

Operation Colleferro was and still is the biggest legal seizure of equids ever carried out in Italy, an operation so significant that it required the intervention of the Ministry of Health, the NAS, the Corpo Forestale, and the State Police plus the Associations: this has no precedent in Italy. Over 200 animals were rescued from starvation and thirst, but one of the most shocking aspects of this case has to be that right up to our action this cruel treatment of hundreds of horses, donkeys, mules, hinnies and cattle had been going on for years and years right under the noses of the local authorities and of the local inhabitants and was the work of one single person who evidently succeeded in instilling such terror in others that he was untouchable.

The intervention was carried out in three phases and covered a very large area of some hundreds of hectares (1 hectare = approx 100 acres) where the animals roamed, gradually becoming wilder and therefore involving complex and dangerous maneuvers to herd them together, then separate them individually for identification procedures, veterinary checks and treatments, and then into provisional holding pens. It was a notable achievement that all this was done without injury to the animals or the people involved, especially considering the lack of adequate structures in which to carry out the operation.
The first group of equines was seized in the months of January and February 2013, the second group in April and the third in June 2013. The work in the field was nothing short of dramatic: there were many animals already dead or dying in agony in the midst of rotting remains. Those in the most desperate condition were taken to clinics, where sadly not all were able to be saved. For the others we had to make the best of two very old and dilapidated constructions as temporary holding places, without secure fencing, without 24/7 supervision and without any electricity at all.

A fourth phase is ongoing: on Thursday 27 February 2014 a further three horses were seized, found at liberty in the area around Colleferro cemetery. One of these has a very serious eye injury and will probably be blind as a result. By mid-March we will secure the safety of the two remaining horses. All this is possible thanks to the astounding support of the general public and the media outrage at the images of the animals during the seizure. We received some contributions from pharmaceutical firms, but the remaining huge costs were covered by the Associations thanks to donations from the public: feedstuffs, veterinary care, clinic costs, transport of the animals, and payment for the use of one of the two structures used to house the seized animals temporarily. In addition there were the innumerable journeys undertaken by volunteers of IHP from Tuscany, the Donkey Sanctuary from Piedmont, and the work of their two vets Agnese Sati and Luca Merlone.

The Associations have served legal notice on the ASL units concerned to provide adequate and suitable surveillance to prevent the man responsible for this cruelty (and who is still free to come and go as he pleases) from starting up this dirty business afresh, as he has already threatened to do.

To apply for adoption of horses or ponies seized please email ihp@horseprotection.it AND tutela.animale@sanita.it.
Italian Horse Protection is coordinating the fund raising. To make a donation please follow the instructions indicated here:

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Photo gallery (Warning: some images might hurt your sensitivity)

Holly and Panda’s story, November 2013

Some of the adopted horses, September 2013

The grey horse taken to surgery. 5th August 2013

More animals removed to safety and new adoptive homes, 28th July 2013

Requisition second phase, 18 April 2013

Fresh horrors at Colleferro, 26 March 2013

Colleferro, the images no-one published 13 March 2013

Colleferro Diary, 14 February 2013

Colleferro Diary, 7 February 2013

Colleferro, the start of the seizure 30 January 2013

Colleferro Emergency, 23 January 2013