By Ray Paulick
A national survey from the Unwanted Horse Coalition released Thursday shows that the number of neglected, unwanted or abused horses has been on the rise as economic conditions across the country have worsened. No surprise there (though a group called the Equine Welfare Alliance said the Unwanted Horse Coalition survey was “slanted” and was released in conjunction with a Senate committee hearing in hopes of stopping federal anti-slaughter legislation). Eighty-seven percent of the participants in the survey (horse owners, equine industry stakeholders and non-horse owners) believe the issue of unwanted horses has become a “big problem,” and 63% of horse rescure or retirement facilities polled are at or near full capacity.
The national survey also said 38% of horses brought to the facilities are turned away.
That isn't the case with the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, according to the non-profit organization's development director, Cyndi Greathouse. “No horse is ever turned away,” Greathouse told the Paulick Report.
Opened in April 2007, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, located on Catnip Hill Road in Nicholasville, Ky., has taken on 400 horses of all shapes, sizes and breeds (including donkeys, miniatures and mules). It accepts horses from individuals, corporations, county animal control agencies throughout Kentucky, other humane societies or equine organizations. “We are a shelter much like the animal shelters for cats and dogs,” said Greathouse. “After an equine is surrendered to KyEHC, they are wormed, immunized and have a physical examination by a licensed veterinarian. Those that are deemed physically and mentally suitable, are put up for adoption.”
Horses not qualified as adoptable, due to severe injury, illness, or mental unsuitability, are humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian.
Lori Neagle, co-founder of ReRun, another Kentucky-based non-profit that helps develop second careers for Thoroughbreds, serves as the Kentucky Equine Humane Center's executive director. The center maintains a small paid staff (three full-time and one part-time employee) but relies heavily on volunteers. Volunteer orientation is held every second Saturday of the month.
Greathouse said the “mission of KyEHC is to provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse to seek adoptive homes for all of Kentucky's unwanted equines, regardless of breed. KyEHC is also committed to educating the public and raising awareness for responsible horse ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis. Our goal is to work with and serve as a model for organizations with the same mission in other states: to save America's equines from inhumane treatment.”
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center works with the Bluegrass State's major Thoroughbred tracks (Turfway, Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Ellis Park), where owners can surrender horses directly from a training or racing stable. The racing secretary's office at each tracks has “surrender forms” that owners can fill out, volunteers for Kentucky Equine Horse Center will care for the horses until the organization arranges for transportation to the Nicholasville farm.
“We ask for a donation when a horse is surrendered,” said Greathouse. “But because the surrenders usually stem from financial reasons, owners giving up their horses can not afford donations that are enough to even offset the cost of transporting the horse to KyEHC.”
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center was founded by: Josephine Abercrombie, Alice Chandler, Dianne Curry, Carol and Tracy Farmer, Becky and Greg Goodman, Staci and Arthur Hancock, Margaret Jewett, Julia and Arnold Kirkpatrick, Lori Kirk-Wagner, Judy and Chris McCarron, Debby and John Oxley, Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, and Kim and Nick Zito.
Visit the KyEHC website
to learn more about the organization and its various programs (the “Horse of the Week” is featured on the web and is also spotlighted every Friday on WTVQ, the Lexington ABC affiliate, and an “Open House Adoption Day” is held every third Saturday of the month at the center).
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center is a charitable 501(C)3 organization that is sustained solely through grants and private donations. Greathouse said it is the only equine organization in the state of Kentucky with “an open-door policy where no equine in need of shelter is ever turned away and no fee is required to surrender an equine.”
For more information about the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, adoptable horses, or volunteering please visit www.KyEHC.org
or call executive director Lori Neagle at (859)-881-5849.
Liberation Farm celebrates the many horsemen and horsewomen who strive each day to make things better for horses and those who work with them.Â To learn more about Liberation Farm, click here.Copyright Â© 2009, The Paulick Report
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