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MSPCA Seeking Special Adopter for Horse Who Will Soon Mark a Full Year of Homelessness

Merlin the “American Paint” Horse Turns 34-Years-Old Next Month

METHUEN, Mass. Nov. 17, 2022 – The MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen is pulling out all the stops to ensure a very special elderly horse gets a loving new home for the Holidays—before he marks a full year of homelessness.

Merlin, an “American Paint” horse, first arrived at Nevins Farm last December, when he was underweight and had a mouth full of pain.  Because his teeth had not been properly maintained, they’d developed points that cut into his gums.  Moreover, some of his teeth were fractured and had to be extracted. When Nevins Farm staffers first met Merlin in December of last year, though, they knew they could nurse him back to health.

The question was, how would he find the perfect adoptive home?  And as the end of 2022 approaches, the team is still asking that very question.

“When Merlin came to us, he weighed just 850 pounds, which may sound like a lot but it’s very underweight for a horse of his size,” explained Rachel Diersen, equine and farm animal supervisor at Nevins Farm. “The issues with his mouth were so bad that he couldn’t even eat solid food, so we had to put him on a special diet.”

“Now, Merlin is close to 1,100 pounds and so much healthier,” Diersen added. “He’s really made remarkable strides over the past 11 months.”

A Complicated Past

Nevins Farm staff brought Merlin to Methuen after MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Melanie Journet executed a search warrant on a Martha’s Vineyard property after finding the horse in poor health. Merlin’s owner, Laura Bernard-Maciel, was charged with felony animal cruelty. A judge ordered Bernard-Maciel to post a bond to pay for the costs of his care for the duration of the case. The MSPCA was granted full custody of Merlin on November 7th after Bernard-Maciel chose not to pay the ordered amount, allowing the MSPCA to seek a forever home for him.

Merlin’s Next Chapter

Next month marks not only the one-year anniversary of Merlin’s arrival at Nevins Farm, but also his 34th birthday.

“Merlin will be the oldest horse we’ve placed in recent memory, and he’s very special,” said Diersen. “We’re highly motivated to rehome him now that we have custody, because he’s responded so well to treatment and has such a wonderful personality, and we’re hoping to enlist the help of the public to find this older gentleman an awesome retirement home.”

“We’re looking for adopters who understand how to care for senior horses and the extra management they require,” she added. “His days of enjoying rides with humans may be over, but he will still be a great companion in the right home.”

Interested adopters can learn more about Merlin and apply to adopt him here.