John Airrington, Interm Excutive Director for the High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary and Gentling Center in Ripon, works with Stanislaus Animal Services Department to help horses find a home.
John Airrington said he wasn't sad when he saw the 10 emaciated and diseased horses found abandoned in Del Puerto Canyon last weekend.
"I was furious," he said. "That's not something that just happens. It's just plain neglect."
Airrington is the executive director of High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary & Gentling Center, which was founded 10 years ago in Weldon, near Lake Isabella east of Bakersfield in the Sierra.
Airrington, who lives in Ripon, consulted with the Stanislaus County Department of Animal Services about the horses abandoned in Del Puerto. But with the contagious bacterial disease they have and their physical condition, his organization couldn't take the animals or try to find adoptive homes for them.
The Animal Services Department is soliciting donations to try to treat the horses.
Unfortunately, Airrington added, cases of abandoned horses are becoming epidemic across the United States, leaving horse rescue groups at capacity and struggling to provide help.
High Sierra Wild Horse Sanctuary is a nonprofit rescue and training operation founded by Nadia and Joe Lane that is expanding into the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The sanctuary has acquired a six-acre pasture in Manteca and hopes to offer horses for adoption in this area.
It has about 57 horses, according to Nadia Lane, many of them mustangs that had been adopted out by the Bureau of Land Management and then abandoned or turned over by owners who were unable to care for them.
The organization started with a couple of adoptions from the BLM, Lane said, and grew exponentially as friends alerted them to horses that were going to slaughter or owners who couldn't handle the horses anymore.
The Lanes eventually bought 12 acres near Lake Isabella and formed a nonprofit corporation to allow fund raising to support the operation. Both have full-time jobs in addition to running the rescue.
The horses High Sierra offer for adoption have gone through training and are healthy, Airrington said. The nonprofit group is working with Barnwood Stables in Ripon, where Cherie Mangelos has volunteered to tame and train the horses.
Adoption costs run from $250 to $1,500, depending on the level of training the horse receives, Airrington said.
High Sierra is looking for volunteers to help with horses, and donations, foster care for horses and adoptive homes. For more information, call Airrington at 992-7236.
Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2349.
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i have had horses that have had "stangles". some just had a touch of it, & one had it bad. how bad do these horses have it. i've ALWAYS treated it w/penicillin(over the counter liquid form about $20-$30 for a BIG bottle)i know feed is expensive, but the article made it sound like these were diseased horses w/no hope except for certain death. the chances of these horses getting sick again from this is close to none. i really question animal services & their vet on whether or not they are capable of taking care of these animals properly.
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Could they take them after treatment?