Horse Owners Utilize Low-Cost Euthanasia Service; Castration Clinics Also Planned

How would Northern California horse owners respond to a low-cost euthanasia clinic? That was a question Tawnee Preisner, operator of NorCal Equine Rescue in Oroville, Calif., asked herself earlier this year when she offered to organize $25 professional euthanasia and carcass removal services for horse owners who could no longer care for their animals. But when the first clinic took place Nov. 19, Preisner was able to waive service costs entirely thanks to broad public support.

"Donors got behind the idea, so we changed the clinic from low-cost to no-cost, so the $25 wouldn't be the difference between helping a horse whose time has come and allowing it to suffer," Presiner said.

Among the animals euthanized were a 20-year-old mare with Cushing's disease, a geriatric horse owned by a senior citizen on a fixed income, and three brought to the clinic by another rescue financially unable bear the cost of euthanizing physically disabled horses with no adoption prospects.

Based on the success of the first clinic, NorCal will host similar monthly clinics December through February, all at no cost to horse owners. To participate in those clinics owners must sign a release allowing the rescue to retain and place potentially adoptable horses. Horses that are unsuitable for adoption will be humanely euthanized by a veterinarian through the rescue's Final Act of Kindness program.

Preisner now hopes horse owners will also embrace a new low-cost castration clinic. Beginning in December and continuing through March, NorCal will offer monthly low-cost gelding clinics for owners of intact males who can't afford veterinarians' standard fees.

Fees, including a post-surgery overnight stay at the veterinary clinic, are currently set at:

  • Stallions under 2 years old: $25
  • 2 to 8 years old: $75
  • Stallions older than 8: $125.

Preisner is surprised the euthanasia and castration clinics have garnered so much attention, but said she hopes others will follow NorCal's lead.

"This is all new to the horse world," she said. "But it looks like people are getting it."

Visit for details about the euthanasia and geld clinics, or call 530/534-7742 for further information.

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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