New Home on the Range
Bullet, an American Quarter Horse, was a winning show jumper in his youth. Now Bullet enjoys time on an acreage with his owner Peggy Paine who adopted him from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Regional Equine Support Center’s re-homing partner, Nexus Equine, located in Edmond.
“He developed some medical issues that were completely treatable, and I can tell you Bullet has plenty left to give,” said Peggy Paine.
The adoption program is just one of the support services offered by the ASPCA Regional Equine Support Center, a network collaborative helping at-risk horses. Tom Persechino, Director of Equine Welfare, heads up this pilot program which opened in July 2019. The majority of horses that arrive at the facility may only need some training to be suitable for adoption by a new owner and into a new career. For example, Quarter Horses that were once career animals can transition to trail horses or beginner 4-H horses.
There is a misconception that once horses are surrendered, they are not fit for adoption. “That is simply not the case,” Persechino said. “Sixty to Sixty-five percent are good candidates for adoption.” And, there is not always a problem with the horse. Sometimes the reason for a horse being surrendered is that the owner is moving, sick or has died. In recent months, a large group of miniature horses were surrendered and all of the horses were moved to new homes.
The ASPCA Regional Equine Support Center, which receives horses, mules, and donkeys, is a pilot program and the first in Oklahoma. A similar program operated in North Texas where the first six months were busy. In 2018, the ASPCA Regional Support Center in Dallas helped nearly 60 equines receive care, according to ASPCApro.org. The Edmond facility, which is open to the counties of Oklahoma, Logan, Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, McClain, Cleveland, Pottawatomie, and Lincoln, is in demand.
“We’ve helped 225 horses.” Tom Persechino said. “That number does not even include those that have been helped through the supplemental program.
The supplemental animal feed program offers a safety net for owners who need assistance during a crisis like an unexpected medical bill or COVID-19. The supplemental program may be utilized until the crisis passes and the owner can resume care of their animal. An additional service offered by the ASPCA Equine Center is Veterinarian care for the time when a horse is suffering or in pain and euthanasia is the answer.
“We offer help in an unbiased, open-arm way,” Persechino said.
On Paine’s acreage, Bullet is friends with a neighboring horse. When the gate is open between pastures, the horses play together. And Bullet loves swimming in the pond.
“He is a happy old gentleman and this 76-year-old lady who takes care of him couldn’t be happier,” Paine said.
While the ASPCA Regional Equine Support Center’s re-homing partner, Nexus Equine, can always use volunteers and donations, they find that many in the community don’t know about their services.
“Spreading the word is super helpful,” Persechino said.
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