Sav­ing the de­fence­less

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - ERIN PEAR­SON

WITH hay in her hair and dust on her worn-out boots, Carolyn Bischof is chang­ing the face of an­i­mal wel­fare one ne­glected pony at a time.

The blood, sweat and tears be­hind Por­tar­ling­ton's Winged Horse Equine Wel­fare, the mother-of-four ded­i­cates her life to sav­ing the un­wanted.

Hun­dreds of horses — and a me­nagerie of hens, roost­ers, goats and ducks — who would other­wise have been eu­thanised be­cause of their health and wel­fare chal­lenges have found a home at the ru­ral prop­erty.

Some ar­rived rid­dled with tu­mours, oth­ers were crit­i­cally mal­nour­ished, had feet is­sues or eye in­juries, or ar­rived preg­nant.

Mrs Bischof’s giv­ing comes at an enor­mous emo­tional and mon­e­tary cost, her fam­ily pur­chas­ing a 32ha farm at Por­tar­ling­ton to turn into a not-for-profit horse res­cue re­treat.

A wel­fare ad­vo­cate for more than 40 years, Mrs Bischof said the ne­glect she had seen kept her awake at night.

Last year the sanc­tu­ary took in six minia­ture horses she de­scribed as be­ing the worst she had ever seen.

Each and every one though is given a fight­ing chance at life. Some are so sick she’s cra­dled them in her lounge room to get them through the night.

Greater Gee­long’s ru­ral sur­round­ings of­ten hide unimag­in­able suf­fer­ing and tor­ment and the re­gion tops the state for re­ports to the RSPCA of horse wel­fare is­sues.

Mrs Bischof said the big­gest chal­lenge in an­i­mal wel­fare was get­ting own­ers to see the an­i­mals as liv­ing crea­tures and not pos­ses­sions.

She urged any­body with farm an­i­mals they could no longer care for to reach out for help. DO you know some­one who de­serves a Pride of Aus­tralia nom­i­na­tion? Pride of Aus­tralia Medal cel­e­brates and recog­nises ev­ery­day Aus­tralians do­ing out­stand­ing things. This year marks the 13th year of News Corp’s Pride of Aus­tralia cam­paign. Nom­i­na­tions close at mid­night on Novem­ber 19. Win­ners are an­nounced in Jan­uary. Visit pride­o­faus­tralia.com.au

Pic­ture: JAY TOWN

Carolyn Bischof and Jude the minia­ture horse.

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