The Equine Rescue Registry was created last year as a partnership between the Arizona Department of Agriculture and horse rescue organizations which are certified by the state. Rescue centers meeting horse care and business practices standards can be included in an online registry where people who can no longer care for their horses can find help.
To be admitted into the registry, horse rescue centers must comply with operational guidelines established by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. They must also have a letter of recommendation written by a licensed and working veterinarian, and pay an annual fee.
“We had a lot of fly-by-night organizations that would raise money, not take care of the horses, and then disappear. We wanted to put an end to that,” said Jean Anderson, director of communications for the Arizona Horse Council. (Source: TheHorse.com)
The forming of the registry to help horses was provoked by a growing number of abandoned horses in the state. From 2008-2009 their Dept. of Agriculture documented 1,254 phone calls about stray horses. After picking up 400 horses, the state was left with 300 to care for, but could not do all that was necessary on their own, so some horse rescue centers became involved. The rise in abandoned horses is believed to be due to the economic downturn, but the state Animal Services Division has also had budget cuts so there is hope the partnership between non-profit rescue centers and the state will prove effective.
The Arizona Equine Rescue Organization is the first to apply to the new registry and has already responded to a situation involving an elderly man and 100 horses he could not care for on his own. The non-profit pays for one-time medical expenses and food, but is also functioning on a limited budget.
“The equestrian community came together when it saw a need for certification of rescues. Now, people can be sure that if they ever need to leave their horse, they can easily find a safe place for it,” said Dr. John Hunt, Associate Director of Animal Services at the Department of Agriculture. (Source: Arizona Horse Council)
Image Credit: François Marchal