Group trying to find homes for wild horses
Volunteers are scrambling to find homes for hundreds of wild horses in South Dakota that were spared a possible trip to the slaughterhouse but are now suffering through a harsh winter.
The horses, some of them blind, were once kept at a troubled South Dakota sanctuary. Now a small group of volunteers from across the country is working 10 hours a day to feed and care for the animals, using rented plows to carve paths through 15-foot snowdrifts. In a nearby hotel room, other volunteers are sorting through adoption applications and networking through social media, desperately trying to find homes for the horses before they are forced to leave the property next month.
About 500 horses have already been placed in sanctuaries and ranches across the country, from Arizona and Oregon to California and Minnesota.
The remaining 300 wild horses could be more difficult to sell or have adopted, said Elaine Nash, the director of horse rescue organization Fleet of Angels who is heading the operation. Nearly 200 are stallions that need gelding before anyone will want them. Dozens are old and have health problems. Others are blind from what Nash suspects was toxic farm runoff in their drinking pond.
More than 800 horses were impounded in October at the nonprofit International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros after a state veterinarian found they were being neglected and a former ranch employee said they were being starved to death. All but 20 were eventually surrendered by their owner.