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      Burned, starved horse 'Whisper' nears full recovery

      Whisper in July 2013

      By Stefanie Bainumsbainum@abcnews4.com

      MEGGETT, S.C. (WCIV) - A horse burned and starved nearly to death more than a year ago has made a remarkable recovery. In what has truly been{}a story of survival, it would be hard to recognize the horse named Whisper today from pictures of how he looked March 2012.

      Whisper was rescued by animal control with third-degree burns all over his body and was 500 pounds underweight, left largely unfed by his owner.

      Elizabeth Steed, Director of LEARN Animal Rescue, says that the{}Whisper today is a healthy and healed symbol of hope.

      "He just seemed to have this inner light from all that pain and ugliness that was on the outside. He wanted to live," Steed said.

      There are still scars on Whisper that are a daily reminder of what he went through -- a survival short of a miracle. Steed says 90 percent of his wounds are healed.

      "He will never be the same. He will never be the show horse for a little girl," Steed says. "He will never have the same lifestyle as a regular horse."

      Because of his burns, Whisper must stay inside the stable out of the sunlight during the day and is only able to be outside in the pasture at night.

      Whisper's abuse case is{}a story far too common in the community. Just last week, the LEARN center received a starvation horse case from Berkeley County. The center named the horse Cool Hand Luke.

      Steed says being able to count the number of bones on the horse shows just{}how much{}large livestock animal abuse is a very serious issue in the Lowcountry.

      "Very few people understand the need for the large animal rescue part of animal control in the area," Steed said.

      Steed believes it's all about educating the community and with the right care and practice, cases like Whisper and Cool Hand Luke, could become a thing of the past.

      "I would love to drive out of here one day and say we no longer have a use for horse rescue," Steed said.

      Both Whisper and Cool Hand Luke are expected to make a full{}recovery. Steed says she is reaching out to a burn center to try to get Whisper to become a mascot for burned victims, especially kids, throughout the Lowcountry.

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