The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has joined in the effort to find the owner of a male horse that was found injured Friday morning on Interstate 75 near Micanopy.
Members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office rescued the horse from the busy freeway. They said it appeared he had either fallen from a trailer and/or been hit by a car. He was transported to the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry and underwent knee surgery at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala, where he also was treated for road rash, bruises, etc.
Nicknamed “Teddy Bear Highway,” the injured horse quickly gained the affection of everyone on the medical team and the deputies who are taking care of him. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office launched a nationwide search to find Highway’s owner, and as of Sunday morning, their Facebook post, along with those on Stolen Horse International other social media sites, had gained worldwide attention and been viewed by more than a half a million people.
On Sunday morning, the medical team reported that Highway was having a great day. He was “demanding” attention, enjoying carrots and walking well. The team also reported that most of his wounds were superficial and his bandages would be changed later in the day. And he is receiving needed antibiotics and plenty of attention.
On Saturday morning, the animal that was labeled “a good horse” by deputies taking care of him was busy looking for treats from the medical team and being “a perfect patient.” He was given antibiotics to keep infection under control, plus pain medication and ulcer prevention treatments, the team reported, adding that he faces a long recovery period.
Officials from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office say they’ll continue to search for Highway’s owner. They have made it clear that they won’t speculate on what transpired before the horse was found injured on I-75. But they are asking for the public’s help in locating his owner and making sure he is returned as soon as possible.
The sheriff’s office also reported that Highway doesn’t have a microchip, tattoos or a freeze brand. But they are certain of one thing – “he’s been well cared for prior to us finding him.”
Many who have seen the social media posts about Highway have inquired about adopting him. The sheriff’s office said that if an owner doesn’t come forward, there are several steps that must be followed before an adoption could happen. But in the event that Highway becomes available, they encouraged everyone who might be interested to continue following their Facebook page for more information.
The Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic also has set up a GoFundMe account for Highway’s medical expenses. Those wishing to donate can click HERE.
As of Sunday afternoon, 154 people had donated $8,879 in just two days. The highest donation, $1,000, came in Saturday, followed by a $500 gift Sunday. And there are multiple donations of $100 or more.
Some of the comments on the GoFundMe page include:
- “God bless everyone for taking the time to save this horse! There are indeed angels on earth!”
- “I feel bad for this beautiful horse. He deserves to live and get care for what he has been through. My prayers are with him.”
- “It is great how the horse community animal lovers and veterinary personnel stepped right up to help this horse.”
- “Bless you for rescuing and caring for this beautiful boy!”
- “This boy doesn’t have a voice and these wonderful people are helping him get better!”
- “Wishing Highway a speedy recovery!”
- “Teddy deserves the best of care after all he’s been thru. Merry Christmas Teddy Bear Highway!”
- “I donated because I would hope if I couldn’t be there to help my horse when she was in need, someone else would step up like these people did and help her.
Anyone with information about Teddy Bear Highway or how he might have ended on I-75 is encouraged to call the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 955-1818 or the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic at (352) 472-1620.