We can work together to fight cruelty to animals.
The Scandia Riders Saddle Club embraced this message as they gathered for their annual banquet on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Scandia Community Center.
Candy Phillips, operations manager and head trainer at the non-profit Truhaven Ranch in Winsted, Minn., spoke about the ongoing rescue of 55 starving horses, ponies, donkeys and mules from Fillmore County in southeast Minnesota.
Phillips told of arriving at the property after learning that more than 80 malnourished animals were needing help.
Instead of 80, the rescue group found 55 animals. A buyer had arrived the day before and hauled away the 30 least-damaged animals, she said. Phillips concluded that those animals were sold for slaughter.
There were several carcasses on the property from animals that had died.
The 55 starving horses, mules, donkeys and ponies that were left had eaten all the roots out of the ground, their own manure, and each other’s tails and manes to survive, she said.
Ponies are usually easy keepers, she explained, and mules are so adaptable they can live off brush and roots. But every root had already been eaten.
In an effort coordinated by the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation, about a dozen animals were moved to the university. Of those, six died or were euthanized. Others were adopted and taken away to be cared for by their new owners. The remaining 27 went to Truhaven.
Phillips said Truhaven usually takes two or three animals at a time. “There was no one else to help with this,” she concluded.
“We had just put up a 108- x 250-foot outdoor arena,” she continued. “Where do you think the animals went?” Mules, donkeys, and ponies ended up in the new arena.
In the six weeks since the rescue, Phillips said, Truhaven Ranch has received help including food, supplies, and money.
The Scandia Riders are in that group of supporters.
Before the banquet, they had purchased hay to contribute.
At the banquet the 2012 Scandia Riders royalty (youth leaders) sold raffle tickets and conducted a silent auction.
By the end of the evening, the group had raised $1,065 toward the cause of restoring the animals to health.