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Lithuanian veterinarians scramble to save horses

Friday - 4/5/2013, 2:20pm  ET

Starving horses stand in heavy snow at a farm near Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, April 5, 2013. Veterinarians are fighting to save the lives of dozens of horses found without adequate food or shelter on a farm near Vilnius, Lithuania's capital. Some 122 horses were kept on farmer Algis Kausakis' property through the long winter without proper food, water or shelter. Kausakis had come under criticism for not keeping the animals in a stable, but he told a Vilnius court last week the horses could take care of themselves and didn't need shelter. Rescue workers said Friday that many of the horses were so hungry they couldn't stand up and that as many as 30 might die. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Lithuanian veterinarians and animal activists fought Friday to save the lives of 122 horses found without adequate food or shelter on a farm near Vilnius, the nation's capital.

Rescue workers used hay to warm the starving, shivering horses and tried to get them to eat. Five horses died before they could be transported to a treatment facility, said volunteer Ruta Matukonyte.

"It is shocking -- the poor creatures cannot stand on their feet. They are just starved to death. It is obvious that more than 30 of these horses will not survive," she said.

The 122 horses were kept on farmer Algis Kausakis' property through the long winter without enough food, water or shelter, according to authorities. Kausakis had come under official scrutiny for not taking proper care of the animals and was fined several times for animal cruelty.

Kausakis was not present during Friday's rescue operation.

The farmer told a Vilnius court last week that the horses were a tough northern breed that could take care of themselves and didn't need shelter, local media reported.


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