HIGH POINT - Safe Haven Equine Rescue and Retirement in High Point is calling on the public for help, in light of continued cases of horse neglect attributed to hard economic times and high hay prices.
The organization said it needs about $4,800 to build five more stalls and a new covered breezeway, in order to bring all of the horses inside for winter. Executive director Ginny Wiltsey explained many of the horses the organization rescues are emaciated and malnourished upon their arrival at Safe Haven Equine. Therefore, while the horses can live comfortably in the facility's outdoor pastures during the summertime, they cannot live comfortably outdoors in the winter. Currently, the facility has nine indoor stalls and 14 horses that live outside during the summer.
Wiltsey said primarily because of the economic downturn in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of horses that are abandoned or found severely neglected in the Triad. Safe Haven Equine works with local law enforcement agencies to do what Wiltsey calls "welfare checks" on area horses. Wiltsey said the group takes in some of the horses that are seized, by local law enforcement, on the basis of animal cruelty.
Safe Haven Equine's most popular horse and permanent resident, Gus, is a 30-year-old Paint horse that was severely neglected and weighed only 500 pounds upon his arrival at Safe Haven Equine. Because of the group's rehabilitation efforts, he now is only about 100-or-so pounds shy of his goal 1,100-pound weight. Wiltsey said Gus serves as a prime example of why continued horse neglect in the Triad yields the need for continued resources at Safe Haven Equine.
Wiltsey explained a local contractor already has signed on to oversee the project of building the stalls. A Thomasville Girl Scout troop, Troop 02435, has raised $500 for Safe Haven Equine. Girl Scout and troop fundraising organizer Rhianna Weavil explained she wanted to participate in the project to help the animals while using her love for horses and working toward her Silver Award.
The organization said it needs the publc's health to get additional monetary and supply donations. It says it needs metal tin for roofing, nails, screws, hardware and volunteers to assist with the construction of the stalls. Donations are tax deductible.
For more information on North Carolina's animal cruelty statutes, visit the North Carolina Animal Legal and Historical Center.
WFMY News 2