A survey of 94 government supported animal control centers was
conducted to identify and review resources availablet o care for unwanted horses within
the districts of the 104 cosponsors of H.R. 503 as of March 11, 2009.Of those surveyed, 19.15% responded.
The survey results show that up to 83% of shelters cannot house and care for any horses, others can only care
for a limited number, only 6% of personnel are very well trained, facilities have budget limitations, and recently
(within the last 12 months) there has been an increase in number of calls related to abandoned and neglected horses
Horse neglect and abuse cases often originate from a lack of economic resources needed to adequately maintain a horse’s health. To date, no proposed state or federal law has addressed funding of care for unwanted horses, long-term placement of affected horses or established guidelines for standards of care at retirement and rescue facilities. Failing to address these core issues adversely affects the welfare of horses. H.R. 503 is a proposed federal bill to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes. The purpose of the legislation is to ban the processing of horses for human consumption does not take into account the unintended consequences should it pass. The care of abandoned or neglected animals whether they are companion animals (dogs and cats) or livestock (horses and cattle) is the ultimate responsibility of each county. Many facilities throughout the country do not have resources to house and care for horses.
A few highlights of the survey results:
1. Seventy-two percent (72%) were considered the primary animal control facility in the county.
2. Seventy-eight percent (78%) house and care for dogs and cats while far fewer, 17% house and care for horses.
3. Seventeen percent (17%) could care for only 10 or fewer horses.
4. Over the past six months, 6% were forced to turn away 11 to 20 horses due to budget limitations.
5. The average cost per day to keep a horse at a facility is $16..75 per day; $502 per month; $6113.75 per year.
6. When the lead administrator was asked how well trained their staff is in their capacity to house and care for horses only, 6% say they are very well trained.
7. Fifty-three percent (53%) acknowledge there are no rescue facilities for horses in the area.
8. When asked how horses are removed from their facility, only 28% said that they could successfully place a horse at a retirement, sanctuary, or rescue facility.
9. Only 7% have funds appropriated for future expansion to house and care for additional horses.
10. In order to improve facilities to accommodate (more) horses, 40% will need more than $100,000.
11. While 57% have an established working relationship with a local equine veterinarian, 43% do not.
12. Responses came from the states of, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
The Animal Welfare Council is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(C) (3) organization established for charitable and educational purposes. Membership includes organizations and business entities who are actively involved in caring for animals in recreation, entertainment, sport and industry.