Jon Stewart To Adopt Lily The Paintball Pony, And She’s Doing Great

A lame, half-blind pony covered in more than 125 paintball impact marks will be moving in with Jon Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show.

Back on March 15, the SPCA and the New Holland police investigated the case of a horse found abandoned and malnourished in a stall at the New Holland Sales Stables. The pony was found to be unhealthy, skinny, and blind in one eye, obviously mistreated and covered with marks from having been shot with paintballs.

As reported by WGAL8 News, a Rhode Island man, Philip Price Jr., 65, of East Providence, Rhode Island, was convicted Friday on three counts of animal cruelty towards the horse abandoned in New Holland.

He will also face other charges relating to bringing the horse from New Jersey to New Holland and abandoning her at the stable. Price has been ordered to pay fines and more than $10,000 in restitution for Lily’s recovery costs.

Dubbed Lily by SPCA workers, the maltreated horse was treated at the New Bolton Center in Chester Country, where she underwent eye surgery and other treatment before being discharged in April to convalesce at the Omega Horse Rescue & Rehabilitation Center in Airville, York County.

Next week the much improved Lily will be released from the rehabilitation center. The director of Omega, Kelly Smith, said of the horse on Friday, “Oh my God, she’s phenomenal.”

She went on to say that you wouldn’t recognize her, “she’s a different horse.”

According to Smith, Lily has gained “several hundred pounds” since she started treatment and has reportedly easily adapted to having only one eye.

“I don’t think we could ask for better,” Smith said. “She’ll be living the life of Reilly. She’ll be well cared for, and she’ll never want for anything again.”

According to Lancaster Online, this is where Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey come in. The couple owns an animal sanctuary in New Jersey. According to a statement issued by Lancaster County SPCA director Susan Martin on Friday, the sanctuary is home to “many unwanted animals,” so Lily won’t be short of company.

As reported by the animal rescue group Farm Sanctuary back in October 2015, Stewart and his wife partnered with their organization to open the sanctuary on the couple’s Bufflehead Farm in New Jersey. Reportedly the Stewarts bought the farm to start their own animal rescue sanctuary, but they later decided to work with Farm Sanctuary.

The 12-acre non-profit facility is located in Middletown, New Jersey, and will be home to many animals, including pigs, sheep, cows, turkeys, and other animals rescued from factory farms, along with Lily the pony and a couple of other mares.

Jon Stewart has been involved in animal welfare for a long time and often used The Daily Show as a forum for his views, while his wife, Tracey Stewart, is a licensed veterinary technician, animal rights advocate and author.

Meanwhile, Lily will be heading to her new home on Wednesday and will be living with at least two other mares, according to Smith.

However, the story is not yet over. While Lily was dumped by Price, who then faced animal cruelty charges, there is reportedly a $10,000 reward on offer for any information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in the horse’s abuse prior to being dumped at the New Holland stable.

PETA has also joined in the search and is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to their arrest.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]