Mailbox With Regard To Donated Horses
I’m reaching out to your magazine in response to the February 2018 article featuring Ron Danta (“There’s a Real World Out There”). I applaud the work that Danny and Ron’s Rescue does for unwanted animals and have nothing but the utmost respect for Ron as a horseman. I do, however, have concerns about his statement that many show horses who are unsound get donated to schools for a big tax write-off and then ultimately the schools send them to kill pens. A statement like that paints all schools with a very negative brush and can make it very hard for us to secure quality donations or students.
I have been a member of the faculty in the School of Equine Studies at Lake Erie College for 12 years and the director of riding for eight years. We typically maintain over 50 horses in our school string and not one of them in all that time has ever been sent to a kill pen or auction by us. We spend tremendous effort and time finding retirement homes for our horses—making certain that each home is safe and appropriate. Sometimes—although rarely—circumstances change and people need to give up those horses. If they notify us, we help find another home. We take our responsibility to our horses seriously and know that it is up to us to help them finish out their days in comfort.— Mary Pardee, Assistant Professor of Equine Studies/ Director of Riding, Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio
Ron Danta responds: I never intended to point a finger at all school programs in my article. Unfortunately, I have witnessed with my own eyes and have saved more than 18 horses that schools have dropped off at the kill pen. I know many great schools that take care of their horses until the end, and euthanasia is a kind and humane way to end their life in peace. Owners must also step up to the plate and be responsible for their horses’ retirement. We can’t turn our heads and say this is not happening, because it is. Please help me end this nightmare for all of those poor horses that do not deserve this at the end.