Saturday, July 26, 2008

Horses Fascinated By Fire


The Animals Seized With a Strange Madness When In Peril.

The panic that is inspired in the minds of horses by a phenomenon so strange as fire can be understood only by those who have witnessed a fire in a large stable where numbers of horses are kept. The scene that ensues is one of the most frightful that can be conceived. The horses are rescued from the burning building with the utmost difficulty and only with the most serious peril to the lives and limbs of the rescuers. The animals go mad with fright, rear, kick and dash from side to side so wildly as to make an attempt at rescue as perilous as an advance on a hostile battery. When rescued, they will often break away from those who hold them and charge back at full speed into the burning building, there to perish in the flames. They resist every attempt to take them out. They have been known to tear their rescuers with their teeth, to throw them to the ground and trample on them, to kick out their brains.

As the fury of the flames increases so does the panic of the unfortunate animals. They scream out in their agony as the fire reaches their bodies, yet will they not for all that seek safety in the open air. They are crazed with fear and yet remain to be burned to death when a ten seconds' run would carry them to liberty. But they never make the run, and, as a rule, are burned alive in their stalls, where alone they seem to fancy they can find security. There is but one way to get them out, and that is to blind them with some convenient cover, such as a coat or a blanket, and thus, unable to see the dangers about them, trembling in every limb, apparently ready to fall to the earth with fear, they may be led out. But the cover must not be too quickly removed from their eyes — in fact, it should not be taken off until the animals are out of sight of the burning building; otherwise they will break away from the persons leading them, and, in spite of the stoutest efforts at restraint, will dash back to perish in the flames. — St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

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