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GRASS VALLEY —

After a long journey from Mexico, an abused horse has arrived at his new home in Grass Valley. The Center for Animal Protection and Education, or CAPE, said the animal was rescued after it was seen being beaten on the streets of Juarez.

The horse, named Rafael, was in a harness that the sanctuary’s Executive Director JP Novic believes was never taken off.

Novic said Rafael was forced to pull a heavy cart filled with metal along the streets of Juarez for years. Eventually the weight became too much for the 12-year-old animal to bare.

“The report that we got is that he collapsed, and the person who was driving the cart was beating him to get up,” Novic said.

The horrific scene prompted a woman to stop Rafel’s original owner and pay him to give her the horse.

“The owner very happily gave him up for $200,” said Shelley Frost, a director at CAPE.

That’s when CAPE and several other organizations got involved to get Rafael out of Mexico.

Novic and Frost said the horse was severely underweight due to a poor diet.

“He was being fed tortillas, tortilla chips, junk food basically,” Frost said.

Unfortunately, his weight made it difficult for him to cross the border.

“The border doesn’t want them sending unhealthy animals across,” Novic told FOX40.

But the organizations were able to raise $5,000 from supporters from all over the world to get him healthy and to California. And now CAPE is making Rafael a poster child for animals in similar situations.

Novic said she has already used his story to collected 180,000 signatures to petition the government in Juarez to make changes.

“We’re going to deliver the petition to Enrique Serrano (Escobar) who’s the mayor of Juarez next week… I’m hoping that he can introduce an ordinance with some humane standards,” Frost told FOX40.