Serenity is committed to helping our community to save abandoned, neglected and abused horses. We frequently receive calls from concerned citizens that have observed horses that are in need of help. When we receive these calls we ask several questions to determine the condition of the horse(s) and the environment they are living in. If possible, we ask the person if they can send pictures. When necessary, we follow up the call with a on-site welfare check.
If we find that the horse is in immediate need of attention we will first try to contact the owner to determine why the animal is not thriving and give help and advise if the owner is willing to make changes. Sometimes the owner is unable to care for the horse and will relinquish ownership. If it becomes clear that the owner is unwilling to change, we will file a written complaint with Animal Control.
Sometimes horses suffer because the owner is unaware that the animal is in need of veterinary care or they are ignorant of the nutritional or environmental needs of their animals. We try our best to educate the owner and advise them on the laws requiring shelter, access to clean water, adequate feed and access to a mud-free area.
Many times this is enough to turn things around but there are times when the owner cannot make the changes needed because of financial reasons and need help to re-home the horse.
On rare occassions we find a situation where the owner lacks feelings of empathy and compassion and their animals suffer from abuse and neglect at their hands without remorse.
These are the cases that Serenity will pursue until the animals are removed from the abuser. Yes, cruel owners can be prosecuted though it is rare. However, what we have learned is not to give up! We will continue to monitor the horses and file complaints and if need be, involve the press until the animals are safe.
The mare in this picture and her pasture mates were turned into King County Animal Control by several neighbors and Serenity over many months. The owner, although he had been visited by Animal Control on many occassions, simply would not comply with needed changes and because of this, this mare lost her life. She was found dead in the pasture a month after our last report.
In our complaints the mare was scored by Serenity as a 1 using the Henekee Body Condition Scoring System for Horses. She was also scored a 1 by a local vet. The Humane Society of the United States deems any horse scoring between a 1 and 3 to be impoundable. Animal Control scored this mare a 3.
What went wrong? - continued from story in the left column.
Washington has no animal shelters for horses or livestock. Dogs and cats that have been abused or simply found as strays are taken to a shelter where they are cared for, adopted or humanely put down. No such resources exist for horses.
Horses, as companion animals, are the most vulnerable because they are not raised for food, while most livestock are a commodity; in other words, a herd of cows is unlikely to be neglected or mistreated.
Horses who have no where to go often end up at the auction where their fate is an unknown. There are just not enough homes for unwanted horses and unfortunetly the laws still allow horses to be shipped to slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
This horse, like many others, didn't get the help she needed in time and she died in her pasture. Unfortunetly Serenity cannot seize horses. This must be done by Animal Control and because of funding issues Animal Control can be very slow to seize a horse. Owners are given far too much time before penelties are imposed or the animal is taken.
What Can You Do?
Always report Animal Cruely. Phone calls can easily be lost so always file a complaint on-line at KC Regional Animal Services
How can you help change the outcome for other horses in the future?
This is were rescues like Serenity can help.
These transformations are only possible with the support of our caring donors. We are 100% dependent upon donations to keep Serenity’s gates open to continue helping horses in need. Donations are used to support the following programs:
Donate today to help us save the next 100 horses!