Horses Removed from North Carolina Rescue Operation

Forty horses are receiving rehabilitative care after they and more than 500 other animals were seized from an allegedly unlicensed a rescue operation in Raeford, North Carolina.

Brian Long, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCAGR), said the rescue called The Haven—Friends for Life applied for registration as an animal shelter under North Carolina's Animal Welfare Act in June. In part, the act assists facilities to comply with the law. In accordance with the measure, the NCAGR's Animal Welfare Section conducted courtesy and facility inspections of shelter, Long said.

Between June 2015 and this month, the NCAGR investigated several complaints about the shelter, he added, the latest of which took place on Jan. 25.

“Based on the findings of these (facility) inspections and multiple complaint investigations, the Animal Welfare Section on Jan. 26 denied The Haven's application for registration,” Long said.

Kelly Krause, communications manager for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), said the NCAGR and the Hoke County Sheriff's Office were investigating the facility after receiving numerous complaints from individuals who discovered they’d adopted sick animals from the facility.

Subsequently on Jan. 27, personnel from the NCAGR and the Hoke County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the ASPCA, removed 40 allegedly maltreated horses from The Haven's 122-acre farm. Another 300 dogs, 250 cats, and other farm animals allegedly living in filth were also removed, she said.

“Many animals had no protection from the elements and are suffering from serious, untreated medical issues including open wounds, severe upper respiratory disease, and emaciation,” Krause said.

According to its website, The Haven was established in 1996 as a nonprofit animal rescue organization to “end the needless euthanasia of adoptable companion animals’ and “educate the public about animal issues and responsibilities.” The website also said the operation had worked closely with local law enforcement agencies to provide shelter for seized or homeless animals.

No one from the Hoke County Sheriff's Department was available to comment on the case. However, Krause said that following the removal, the Hoke County Sheriff arrested the owners of the shelter on charges of animal cruelty and possession of a controlled substance. She declined to name the owners, but said additional charges could be forthcoming.

While the investigation continues, the animals are receiving veterinary and other rehabilitative care at an undisclosed location, Krause 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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