SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - The reward for information grows in an animal abuse case that's grabbed a lot of attention. Since Good Samaritans rescued the horse left for dead in St. James Parish, he's gained hundreds of pounds!
The 17-year-old registered Quarter Horse has lived up to his name. Ten weeks ago we showed you the animal that was so frail he struggled just to stand up.
"When we arrived on the scene, it was heartbreaking. I had to take a deep breath, the tears almost immediately started pouring," Aubrey Stewart with the Wind Dancer Ranch Equine Rescue Service told FOX 8 in March.
Sheriff's deputies in St. James Parish spotted the horse between the Mississippi River and the levee in Gramercy, trapped in a mud pit.
"That horse, Lucky, was as close to dying as a horse could get," said Jeff Dorson with the Humane Society of Louisiana said. Since then, Lucky has taken up residency at Wind Dancer Ranch, an equine rescue service in Slidell.
"He just had his second bath. He's not too happy about it," Stewart said, talking about a skin treatment.
At Wind Dancer Ranch, Stewart; her husband, Tommy; and their ranch hand Nick keep a close eye on Lucky.
"My vet came out. She said he put on 250 pounds. So he's doing good, but if you look at his back, he's still gotta fill all of this out," Stewart said.
Still, a stark difference in just three months! Over the weekend, Stewart captured Lucky galloping for the first time!
They've shared Lucky's progress on social media, and Facebook friends - some complete strangers - show their support. Bonnie Jean wrote, "wow, he has new life." Beth Bourgeois added, "I'm in awe of the transformation."
"I got people (writing) from Virginia and North Carolina clear across the United States - even on the West coast," Stewart said.
Lucky has come a long way, and Stewart says he's got a long road to go. The next challenge will be treating a mass on his eye.
"It is more than likely small cell cancer. We need to have it removed. It will grow and cover his whole eye," Stewart told us.
The St. James Sheriff's Office works to track down leads in Lucky's animal abuse investigation.
"In Louisiana, apparently it doesn't take much to sell a horse. Not even a registration is required, so it's becoming more and more difficult to track down ownership when you abandon a horse," Dorson said.
Hoping to generate more tips, the Humane Society increased its reward for information from $500 to $1,500. If you know anything, call them at (888) 6-Humane.
The St. James Parish Sheriff's Office said Lucky has gone through several owners. His case remains open and active. If detectives make an arrest, the person or people responsible will face animal abuse charges.
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