Kentucky Unwanted Horses Addressed in New Report

The number of Kentucky horses abandoned by their owners rose through 2009, according to a report released by the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) this week. County officials, rescue operators, and KHC members provided data for the report, which compared the number of horses abandoned or placed in equine rescues between 2007 and 2009.

An estimated 168 horses were reported abandoned by their owners between 2007 and 2009. Only six animals were reported similarly abandoned between 2005 and 2006, the report said.

Meanwhile, the number of horses brought to equine rescues has diminished, although intakes continue to outpace adoptions. According to the report, a total of 236 horses were placed at equine rescues in 2009 compared to 255 in 2007. Of those, 141 found adoptive homes in 2009 compared with 145 in 2007.

Despite the findings, rescue operator Lori Neagle said she believes the number of unwanted horses is higher than report results reveal.

"I think there is a lot of underreporting. And with the cold weather coming, who knows how many horses are out there," said Neagle, executive director of the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

Along with statistics, the KHC report recommended ways to improve care for at-risk horses including financial support for owners in need and the establishment of statewide care standards for rescue and retirement facilities.

Neagle believes the recommendations are good start.

"But, we still have a long way to go," she said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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