LONGVILLE, LA (KPLC) - The images of the starving horse struggling to stay alive are enough to bring tears to any animal-lover's eyes.
The horse was found Friday, trapped in a pasture on Highway 171 in Lake Charles.
Erica Whitehead, of Longville, knows something about treating horses like this.
"That almost killed me. That [horse] should have been taken to the vet," said Whitehead. "It should have been fed. It should have had some sort of shelter. It should have had water."
Whitehead, along with her family, operates D.E.W. Drop Farms, a small horse equine and rehabilitation center near Longville.
Over the years, Whitehead and her family have successfully rehabilitated and placed nearly 300 horses up for adoption.
"We've had horses just show up in the yard. We've had horses that we've gone and rescue ourselves," said Whitehead.
Whitehead says abused and abandoned horses are becoming an epidemic because owners are not able to care for the horses because of the costs. Whitehead says it also doesn't help matters that slaughter houses have been closed.
Whitehead's advice to horse owners is to "do what's best for the horse and try to find them somewhere that they can live and be able to be taken care of."
The Whitehead Family operates D.E.W. Drop Farms using their own money and receives no funding from any government source. The family is on the lookout for used farm equipment that they could use to help them take better care of the horses.
Anyone interested in donating any used farm equipment or metal barn parts, should click HERE.