Veronica was found abandoned by Lincolnshire Police – the Hykeham Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team. The team were on patrol as normal in the Carlton Le Moorland area and a little figure caught their eye in the middle of a farmer’s field. Initial enquiries were made to try and locate an owner however, no one came forward for her. The Police suspected she had been abandoned. It was only when the Police Community Support Officers managed to get within 60m of her that they realised she had extremely overgrown hooves as she scratched her ear with her hind foot.
Donna Hill, our Field Officer said;
“It was difficult to assess her initially as she was so terrified of people and was roaming farmer’s fields. The terrain was rough and she covered some distance. Because of the crops, the view of her was distorted initially so we thought maybe she had just escaped from a nearby field and gone for a little adventure, however, when we saw her long hooves and poor condition we realised there was a lot more to the situation. Myself (PCSO Hill at the time) and a colleague (PCSO Lingard) retreated initially and went to get some horse feed and a head collar. I sat in the field for about an hour crouched down and gradually I edged closer to her, and she edged closer to me. It took some time but she was so scared and we didn’t want her running around again on her long hooves due to the pain this would cause her.”
Approximately 12 years old and with a body condition score of just 1.5 out of 5, Veronica had very overgrown feet and was covered in lice.
Veronica needed her hooves x-rayed and trimmed as they were terribly overgrown resulting in farrier treatment every two weeks. The heavy lice infestation had caused sores on her face and body so she was fully clipped and received delousing treatment along with a bath using medicinal shampoo every two days. When Veronica was strong enough she began her worming programme on advice from our vets and was eventually able to go out in the field for a couple of hours a day while she acclimatised to being turned out.
Veronica hit the news all over Lincolnshire and everybody fell in love with her instantly. PCSO Lingard named her Veronica Biggs due to her big run away from the team resulting in the many hours it took to catch her and get her to safety. Everyone who read the story in the press found it highly amusing that she gave the Police the run around. Veronica Biggs – the great runaway.
After weeks of intensive care from the team at the Animal Reception Centre (ARC), Veronica was finally ready to leave the ARC pending a clean guttural pouch wash result. This is done by carrying out a routine endoscopy under mild sedation with a vet and the team at the ARC.
Unfortunately, when we received the results of the endoscopy it was discovered that Veronica was harbouring several chondroids in her guttural pouches (solid balls of mucus) which sadly indicated that Veronica had come into contact with the disease know as Strangles. Washes were sent externally for testing and antibiotics were administered in both pouches to kill any bacteria.
Eventually Veronica was granted a clean bill of health and joined our Shetlands on the Visitor Centre yard where her confidence improved day by day thanks to the dedicated care and handling from our teams. She starred in the 2017 summer holiday activity ‘Pat & Chat’ alongside her friend, Surprise. Visitors loved meeting Veronica and Surprise for a cuddle and asked our experienced yard staff lots of questions.
Veronica even featured in ‘Escape to the Country’ and on our Bransby Life cover with our External Welfare Officer, Donna Hill and PCSO Lingard.
Unfortunately, as time passed, the wet and cold weather made Veronica’s arthritis much worse, she began weight shifting and was unable to cope with her discomfort despite pain relief. Veronica received the best treatment from the farrier, dentist and vet but sadly she began to lose weight and we couldn’t control her pain which meant she was no longer able to stand comfortably or enjoy time out in the field with her friend Surprise.
Due to this, the decision was made for Veronica to be put to sleep so that she wasn’t suffering.
The last few months of her life were filled with kindness and comfort from our teams. As with all the equines in our care Veronica captured our hearts and is dearly missed.