Local horses left by dead couple need new home

A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River. (Photo Courtesy of Karen Edens at Two Hearts Mini and Draft Rescue)
A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River.

A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River. 

A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River. 

A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River. 

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A local rescue wants to find a new home for two horses that were left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River. (Photo Courtesy of Karen Edens at Two Hearts Mini and Draft Rescue)

WASHINGTON — Two small horses left behind by a couple found dead in the Potomac River need new guardians. And the rescue that is trying to help has gotten an overwhelming response.

Karen Edens, with the Two Hearts Mini and Draft Rescue in Stafford, Virginia says friends of Charlie Zintner and Missy Smarr reached out to her to help find shelter for Josie and Justin.

“I picked them up on Sunday, and it’s been crazy ever since,” Edens says.

Also on Sunday, Edens posted on Facebook that she wanted to find a home for the horses. The story of how Zintner, 58, and Smarr, 55, left their beloved horses has sparked lots of interest.

“I’m not even sure how it happened, because I didn’t put names,” Edens says. “I just put Josie and Justin are in the rescue, [and] about their parents being in a terrible accident, and it just mushroomed from that.”

Authorities began searching for Zintner and Smarr on July 8 after a report that they had not returned to a Stafford marina. Their boat was found empty, and their bodies were found the next day. All signs say their deaths were accidental, according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

“There’s something tragic behind these horses, and that is what’s making people interested,” Edens says. “I get horses from New Holland, I get horses from the kill buyers, and they just don’t have the stories that these two have.”

Justin is a dark-hued Bay Quarter horse with a white nose. He’s about 13 hands high, or just over four feet. Josie is a tan-colored Palomino Tennessee walker who is closer to 14 hands, or four feet, eight inches.

Two Hearts is a small, private rescue in Stafford that only cares for about five horses at a time. Edens is reviewing the references of three people who have offered to adopt Josie and Justin together.

“We really try to get the best possible home for the [horses], but it’s not just these guys that need homes, it’s the other ones we have, too,” she says.

And if you have pets, include them in your will.

“Because these guys had nowhere to go, and I know their owners loved them terribly,” Edens says. “But it would have been nice if [the horses] would have gone to a place they wanted them to go, and not where we think they want them to go.”

The rescue is accepting donations to help care for Justin and Josie and other horses.

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