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Natural Awakenings Tucson

HEART of Tucson: Stopping the Cycle of Abuse, One Horse at a Time

Apr 01, 2016 05:41PM ● By Cindy Butierez

Chance Before & After

Equine have a big presence in our Southwest community, but prices of feed, boarding, veterinarian and farrier care have gone up drastically in the past 10 years. Many people have lost jobs and have other economic challenges which have caused a rise in the need of equine rescue and assistance with their horses. Happy Equine Acres Rescue & Therapy, also known as HEART of Tucson, is a community resource that assists with equine education, rescue of equine in need, rehabilitation and re-homing equine that may have otherwise gone off to slaughter or been left to die in the desert.

HEART of Tucson has been a nonprofit equine rescue since 2010, run entirely by volunteers. They take in horses that have been abused, neglected or abandoned, as well as surrendered horses from the community when individuals are having financial challenges and can no longer care properly for their equine. HEART of Tucson’s ultimate goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home each equine to a responsible, loving and forever home.

HEART also instructs and raises public awareness regarding horse ownership and care. Instruction includes feeding, grooming, training, boarding, veterinarian/farrier/dental care and teaches about all costs associated with the ownership of the equine. They do this by educating both the public and their volunteers through on-site, hands-on seminars, both at their equine rescue and other locations throughout Southern Arizona.

With their Pay it Forward program, much like a food bank for horses, HEART offers food to equine owners on a temporary basis, to enable the owner to keep their horse, despite an economic setback.

The organization assists local law enforcement and state agencies with various issues in dealing with equine and the general public/community. Their trained volunteers assist with capture, transport and provide a holding facility, and when necessary, HEART provides long-term care.

Last year, HEART took in six abused/abandoned/neglected horses and four surrendered horses; re-homed three horses; distributed over $500 worth of hay to individuals to assist with over 15 horses due to temporary economic issues; gave educational, hands-on training to over 100 community members on horse-related topics; assisted another horse rescue with clean-up of their rescue, grooming and care of their horses along with medical care; assisted local law enforcement agencies and Arizona Livestock by responding to over 20 locations of horses reported as abused, abandoned or neglected; and took in four horses that law enforcement agencies were unable to accommodate.

HEART of Tucson is always accepting donations and in need of things like money for equine feed, supplements, equipment, horse panels and gates (portable). They also hope to one day find a property of 10-plus acres on which to build a permanent HEART Equine Rescue Facility.

Cindy Butierez is president of Happy Equine Acres Rescue & Therapy. For more information, call 520-445-1510, email [email protected]
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