Update: Paint Ball Abused Horse gets Royal Treatment from Stewarts

by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer of Philly.com

“She is just the sweetest, sweetest horse I’ve ever met…”

Clem Murray / Staff Photographer Tracey Stewart and Lily, the neglected and abused horse she and her husband, Jon, have adopted.

Clem Murray / Staff Photographer
Tracey Stewart and Lily, the neglected and abused horse she and her husband, Jon, have adopted.

Unlike her husband, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart, Tracey Stewart isn’t comfortable in front of cameras – something she isn’t shy about acknowledging.

But she stood in front of more than a dozen reporters at a private animal-rehabilitation center in Kennett Square, Chester County, on Wednesday to gush about a new member of the Stewart family – Lily, the horse found malnourished and splattered with paint in Lancaster County in March.

“She is just the sweetest, sweetest horse I’ve ever met,” Stewart said.

Lily also evidently is one of the luckiest.

The Stewarts adopted Lily and will bring her to live at their animal sanctuary in Colts Neck, N.J. SPCA investigators said Lily had been headed for slaughter.

Stewart said she was glad to use the family’s fame to shine a light on animal-welfare issues and adopt Lily after hearing her “really disturbing, really horrifying” story.

But she stood in front of more than a dozen reporters at a private animal-rehabilitation center in Kennett Square, Chester County, on Wednesday to gush about a new member of the Stewart family – Lily, the horse found malnourished and splattered with paint in Lancaster County in March.

“She is just the sweetest, sweetest horse I’ve ever met,” Stewart said.

Lily also evidently is one of the luckiest.

The Stewarts adopted Lily and will bring her to live at their animal sanctuary in Colts Neck, N.J. SPCA investigators said Lily had been headed for slaughter.

Stewart said she was glad to use the family’s fame to shine a light on animal-welfare issues and adopt Lily after hearing her “really disturbing, really horrifying” story.

It is unclear how Lily came to be covered in paint, but an investigator with Lancaster County’s SPCA said that Lily was so sore she had to be sedated when she was rescued and that the paint took weeks to wash off, conditions that suggested she was hit with paintballs.

That conclusion was disputed Wednesday by Lily’s former owner, Doreen Weston of Pittstown, N.J. She told the Associated Press the horse actually was used for finger painting by children before she gave it to a dealer, not shot with paintballs. Weston said that the horse loved the children’s touch and that she had let officials know early on of the finger-painting.

The Lancaster County SPCA’s director, Susan Martin, responded that she did not find Weston credible, saying she should have come forward weeks ago.

Lily, a relatively old horse, was emaciated when she was found. Veterinarians had to remove her right eye, which had lost its sight due to disease.

Since March, Lily has gained 150 pounds and looks healthy.

The Stewarts also adopted Anita, a mare that lost an eye to cancer and was rescued from auction about a year ago. Lily and Anita, both recently treated at The University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, have become friends.

Stewart offered to adopt Lily after hearing about her from an official at Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit in New York with which the Stewarts work. At Wednesday’s event she wore a Farm Sanctuary shirt.

At the Stewarts’ sanctuary, Lily will be “living the good life” and “doing whatever she wants all day,” Stewart said.

The public will be able to visit Lily at the sanctuary starting next spring. Stewart also plans to keep people updated on Lily through a Facebook page, the Daily Squeal.

At Wednesday’s news conference, Stewart hugged and thanked Kelly Smith, director of the Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in York County, for taking care of Lily. Smith said people need to remember there are thousands of horses like Lily that need rescuing.

The dealer, Philip Price Jr., 65, of Rhode Island, dropped off Lily for auction in March at the New Holland Sales Stables in Lancaster County, law enforcement officials said. Price was convicted last week by a district judge in New Holland of five summary counts relating to his handling of Lily, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

“We’re happy justice was served in this case and Lily will be going to a great new home,” said Christine Wilson, an assistant district attorney.

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