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Florida veterinarians travel to Bahamas to help horses impacted by Hurricane Dorian

Animal advocates coordinate food delivery from PBC
Posted at 6:34 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-08 04:55:02-04

GRAND BAHAMAS ISLAND, Bahamas — Bess Darrow is a veterinarian based in Gainesville. On Monday, she's checking in on the horses at Pinetree Stables. She sweeps her hand over one horses' coat.

“It has no fungus, no lesions on it. It’s nice and shiny, they weathered the storm very very well."

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Bahamas After Dorian

Pinetree Stables though is not in Florida, it’s in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island. Here are 16 of the 19 horses left on the island after Dorian.

“These horses have been bred for generations here to be good riding horses for their eco-tours," said Darrow.

On Monday, stable owner Linda Buchanan, gets some good news. Jennifer Skiff with the Animal Wellness Foundation, tells her that her organization has raised the money to provide 6 months of hay for all of the surviving horses. Animal Wellness Foundation is visiting the barns in the region checking to see how they can help, be it roof repairs or food.

As for where the hay will be coming from, it will be shipped from Southeast Hay Distributors. The business is set up at the Port of Palm Beach.

“The islands don’t produce their own," said Alex Christensen with Southeast Hay Distributors.

“To not have to worry about this hay thing is actually a huge relief for us," said Buchanan.

Some barns though need more than hay.
A ride out on the Grand Bahama Highway takes us to the Ol’ Freetown Farm. Half a dozen horses among the nearly 200 animals, and a caretaker, that perished in the storm.

“You don’t know where you’re going to go from there.. just trying to put things together," said owner George Johnson who knows his road to recovery is long but is grateful for anyone coming to visit who can share the stories in the tight-knit equine community.