“Don't let this happen again. We are begging you to please help us keep these horses safe. Please don't let Danny's death be in vain.”

By Meghan Overdeep
July 15, 2020
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The Corolla Wild Horse Fund issued a stern warning to visitors after a yearling colt named Danny died in a “horrific, devastating, completely preventable way” last week.

“Danny choked on an apple. Read that again—Danny choked on an apple,” herd manager Meg Puckett wrote on Facebook Monday.  “When we say that apples and carrots KILL wild horses, we are not kidding. We are not being overly dramatic. We are not using scare tactics. Apples and carrots KILL wild horses.”

Officials believe that Danny had the apple—left on the beach by a human—in his esophagus for days before someone recognized he was in distress and called for help. Though veterinarians did all they could for him, Danny’s injuries were too severe. The young horse most likely suffered a traumatic head injury from thrashing around for days while he was choking. It's also likely that the damage to his esophagus caused bleeding into his lungs.

“If this is hard for you to read, we can promise you it was much harder to witness in person,” Puckett noted in the now-viral post.  “All of this could have been prevented. Danny didn't deserve to die this way.”

It is illegal to approach and/or feed any of the wild horses that roam the Outer Banks. They have a highly specialized diet of native plants and grasses and cannot digest other foods.  With roughly 100 wild horses left, it is essential that visitors respect their health and safety.

Puckett hopes this tragedy serves as a wake-up call.

“Let's not let Danny's death be in vain. Stop feeding the horses. Stop touching the horses, Stop interacting with the horses. If the horses come up to you, walk away. Secure your belongings on the beach. Pick up your garbage. Call and report infractions that you witness,” she implored. “Don't let this happen again. We are begging you to please help us keep these horses safe. Please don't let Danny's death be in vain.”

To educate yourselves about the horses and the ways you can help protect them, please visit CorollaWildHorses.com/learn.

Rest in peace, sweet Danny.