Arizona Registry Lists Horse Rescues

Rescue operators in Arizona whose organizations meet specific corporate and care standards can now register with the state Department of Agriculture for inclusion in an online listing of sanctioned equine rescues in that state.

Arizona lawmakers created the Equine Rescue Registry last year when they passed SB1115. The registry officially opened in July 2010. Under the measure, incorporated nonprofit equine rescues that meet care and facility standards set down by the American Association of Equine Practitioners are eligible for inclusion in the registry. Registrants must also submit a letter of recommendation from a practicing veterinarian familiar with the organization and pay a $75 annual registration fee. The Arizona Department of Agriculture maintains the registry, and participation in the registry is voluntary.

Jean Anderson, director of communications for the Arizona Horse Council, the organization that worked with rescues and lawmakers to craft the legislation, said the registry is designed to help owners of at-risk horses and donors to equine charities identify reputable rescue agencies operating in the state.

"We had a lot of fly-by-night organizations that would raise money, not take care of the horses, and then disappear," Anderson said. "We wanted to put an end to that."

Soleil Dolce, vice president of The Arizona Equine Rescue Organization Inc., said her organization was the first to apply for inclusion in the registry.

"We wanted to get our credentials out there." Dolce said. "We wanted to add to our credibility."

So far, the Arizona Equine Rescue Organization is the only rescue to receive registry status. But Dolce expects that to change soon.

"It's going to take a while for rescues to get their registration materials together," she said. "But the registry will take off. It's just a matter of time."

Meanwhile, Jo Deibel, director of Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue Inc. in Pennsylvania, hopes similar registries will eventually be established elsewhere.

"This will help reduce the number of people calling themselves rescues that really have no care or consideration about the final outcome of the horses they are supposedly dedicated to protecting," Deibel said. "I would like to see other states adopt this program."

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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