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Dr. Chris O’Malley, at center in background, of Warrenton Veterinary Clinic near Inez, assists students from the N.C. State University School of Veterinary Medicine in castrating a horse. 

Students from N.C. State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine got hands-on surgical experience here last week during a gelding clinic hosted by Dr. Chris O’Malley of Warrenton Animal Clinic near the Inez community. About 16 stallions were castrated including previously neglected stallions that were seized by Warren County Animal Control last month from a property near Afton-Elberon and two stallions seized in Sampson County animal cruelty cases.

Veterinarian Dr. Callie Fogle with the veterinary college said that castration clinics are held twice a year.

“They provide an opportunity to help horses that have been seized and not had vet services and makes them more adoptable for animal control and rescue groups,” she said. “It also helps the community and is a big service for the veterinary students because it gives them the opportunity to be the ‘primary surgeon’.”

Fogle explained that castration makes the horses more docile and keeps unwanted horses from breeding and overpopulating.

Veterinary students performed physical exams on the horses to make sure they were healthy enough for surgery and anesthesia, then, under the guidance of veterinarians, performed the castrations. Most of the surgeries were performed with the horses lying on a grassy area, but several horses underwent standing sedation castrations in stalls.

Erin Erickson of Rockin’ E Ranch of Warrenton brought five horses to the clinic including four from the Warren County seizure. She said that she attended a castration clinic the day after the horses were seized and had the idea of bringing a clinic here. A friend of hers who attends the veterinary college and others helped make the idea a reality.

Elma Rae Greene, Warren County Animal Control director, was pleased with the opportunity to bring such as event to the area. She noted that, though the local animal shelter is designed to house cats, dogs and other small animals, there are ways to get help for larger animals when needed.

“The Animal Ark can’t handle all sizes of animals, but we have resources like the vet school and rescue groups,” she said. “The animal welfare movement in North Carolina is very strong, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute people, so they should think twice about neglecting their horses or other animals.”