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Return to the wild: 'The Neglected 20' mustangs head to Oregon sanctuary

"They're really wild animals." Now, they will live out their lives where they belong: in the wild.

WINDHAM, Maine — Last fall, NEWS CENTER Maine aired the story of "The Neglected 20" – a herd of abused horses that had been seized by the state in July and brought to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals.

NEWS CENTER Maine's Peggy Keyser and photographer Kirk Cratty followed the progress of the herd as the MSSPA assessed the horses' needs and worked to bring them back to good health.

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Nearly a year later, the horses who did recover have been adopted out. What remains of the "The Neglected 20" are three wild mustangs.

The MSSPA wanted the best possible outcome for these horses as well. 

"These three mustangs, we have spent a lot of time with them, evaluating them, getting to know them, trying to understand their needs because they’re really fundamentally different from domestic horses," Meris Bickford, CEO of the MSSPA, said. "They’re really wild animals because they were captured as adult wild animals."

With that in mind, the MSSPA is returning these horses to the wild, partnering with the Skydog Ranch and Sanctuary in Oregon. On Thursday morning the three mustangs were coaxed onto a trailer that will drive them cross-country over the next five to six days. 

You can follow along on this journey by visiting the MSSPA’s Facebook page and website. Once they arrive in Oregon, Peggy and Kirk will have a full report on 207.  

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