Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Unwanted horses saved

Daughter's interest sparks rescue center

By Karen Puckett
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - Alice Crow didn't know much about horses a few years ago. Now, much of her life is devoted to them.

Alice Crow sits with Review at the Second Chance Horse Rescue Center.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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She is the founder and director of Second Chance Horse Rescue and Outreach Center, which takes unwanted horses and helps find good homes for them with adoptive families.

Three years ago, Crow's daughter Brittany, now 13, showed an interest in horses, so Crow and her husband decided to buy one for her. When they went to a horse auction, they were surprised to see mass purchases of the animals.

"We ended up at an auction, and saw people buying horses by the dozen. I didn't know they were buying the animals for slaughter," said Crow, who lives in Liberty Township.

She pledged to do something to prevent the slaughter of horses, whose meat is sold legally in Europe and other parts of the world. Crow, who is studying for a business degree at Miami University, came up with a plan to start a nonprofit company that would rescue abandoned horses, find adoptive families, and educate the public in the upkeep and care of the animals.

Rhondi peers out of its stall.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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Since it began operations last August, the center has received nearly 80 horses, and currently has 39 at its leased space at DD Ranch in Middletown. Crow works with the Butler County Humane Society to find neglected horses, but also finds that many people seek her out when they no longer want their horses.

"We get horses for all types of reasons - children go off to school; death, divorce, old age. These horses are good horses, people just can't care for them anymore," said Crow.

Some owners have donated animals in good shape to the program to help it raise funds. They go to adoptive families after a lengthy application process and background check. Some horses sell for up to $2,000; some are given away for free.

"We require a screening of those interested in adopting. We investigate the quarters where the horse will be kept, we require the name of their veterinarian, and we ask for their experience with horses," explains Rhonda McLean, a volunteer and member of the board of trustees.

After the initial screening, the adoptive owners are required to sign a waiver allowing the center to randomly check on the horse for two years. Pam Kerth is in charge of assessing the horses post-adoption.

"I check to see if they are being properly fed, watered, groomed ... and that they have proper housing. If there is evidence a horse is being mistreated I will remove it immediately, though we haven't had a case like that yet," said Kerth.

Cheryl Holman, a veterinarian in West Chester, is working with Crow to donate a portion of her 79-acre farm in Somerville for what is envisioned as a permanent home for the rescue center that will include a riding arena, stalls and grazing pastures.

"I figured I had extra land, and if I could help the foundation out in that way I would be glad to," said Holman.

The rescue has a volunteer base that logged more than 1,700 hours last month alone. Volunteers are in charge of chores ranging from keeping logs to cleaning the stalls.

The team at Second Chance also sponsors a 4-H group in Butler County. The children in the program come to the facility and help with the daily chores, and they arrange fund-raisers for the center. Crow also works with other youth groups.

She created the Credit Award Program, in which volunteers earn credits toward adoptions, boarding and lessons for working at the rescue. Each point a volunteer receives counts as one dollar toward a service.

"I really want the community to be a part of this cause, and I hope all that we do makes people want to come volunteer and get involved. Without our volunteers and donators, none of this could be possible. They are amazing," Crow said.

If you are interested in adopting a horse, or donating to the foundation, contact Alice Crow at (513) 755-3191. Write to P.O. Box 23 Mason, OH 45040; e-mail: 2ndchancehorse@fuse.net.

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