Horse Intentionally Set On Fire Continues Improving - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Horse Intentionally Set On Fire Continues Improving

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By Rick Reitzel

A Pennsylvania horse intentionally set on fire in August will survive and is returning to good spirits, doctors said.

Northstar is a 6-year-old gelding, set on fire on Aug. 25, after someone poured accelerant on his back and lit him up.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Dr. Sam Hurcombe, Northstar's primary veterinarian at The Ohio State University's Galbreath Equine Center. Northstar was transported 200 miles to OSU from Erie, Pa. two weeks ago.

"This is probably the worst act of animal cruelty that I've ever seen," Hurcombe said.

Hurcombe said he is amazed at the progress Northstar has shown with first- and third-degree burns on his back and neck. Some of the burns are so severe that his spine is exposed.

"I am amazed at how this horse's attitude is towards people considering what someone has done to him," he said.

Northstar's plight is generating national attention, including an anonymous donor paying the medical bills. Hurcombe said those will include extensive skin grafts, because the burn area is too large for the skin to cover the wounds on its own.

"He is going to live. The question now is how well can we get these burn wounds to heal, how cosmetic and functional are the wound areas going to be," he said.

Even after all the surgeries, the veterinarian still isn't sure if anyone will be able to ride Northstar again. But, despite all he's been through, Hurcombe said Northstar is starting to act like the playful and inquisitive horse he was before the attack.

"He's already trying to get in my pockets. He's all over you, and he is a very personable horse," Hurcombe said.

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