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LAKE POWELL, Utah (ABC4) — Residents are raising concerns after a visibly malnourished horse was spotted in Lake Powell with two small dead horses nearby.
A social media post shared Tuesday in a Lake Powell Facebook group brought the situation to light. The post included photos of a horse with her ribs showing and the carcass of a small horse in Navajo Canyon.
One concerned local, Debra Doss, saw the post and immediately sprung into action. Another local resident donated some hay, which Doss and her coworker, who has extensive experience with horses, brought to the starving horse.
While the post discussed the possibility of the horse being trapped, Doss said it appeared there would be a way out for the horse. However, she said the horse has likely been separated from its herd.
“There’s evidence everywhere that there had been a large, or medium to large, herd there, so we’re assuming she got there on her own. I don’t think that she necessarily fell down there, but somehow she got left or she chose to stay,” Doss said.
Doss speculated over why the horse stayed, citing the possibility of her not wanting to leave her now dead foal or not having a herd to follow. The reasons at this time are still unknown. Doss said despite her visible malnourishment, she does not appear to have any other injuries.
This is not the first time horses have been found and fed in Navajo Canyon. In May, officials from the National Park Service rescued a feral mare and her foal after they found them stranded on the beach. Authorities said they were likely trapped due to the rising water levels at the time.
Authorities continued to say they believed the horses did not swim to safety because they were too weak from a lack of food supply. The horses were rescued by boat and recovered at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab.
At the time, NPS authorities said they do not normally interfere with wildlife or feral animal situations, however, the horses were stranded on a popular spot for boaters causing “a safety concern to the public.”
ABC4 has reached out to Glen Canyon National Park Service and the Navajo Nation and is awaiting a response.
Residents like Doss hope officials can help the horse find a new herd before it’s too late.
“We have boats, big boats, we are here and willing to help if the park service can use help or if we can do anything,” Doss said.