April 6, 2014
Little Horse Gets Large New Life at Duchess
Rescued with more than 100 dogs and horses--Betty Boop finds safe home at Duchess
Until November, 2013, more than 100 dogs and 20 horses—nineteen-year-old Betty Boop was one of them—lived in deplorable conditions on a single property in Oregon. After being discovered living with inadequate shelter, a lack of water, and otherwise unsanitary conditions, they were rescued by the Oregon Humane Society.
Their owner was charged with dozens of counts of animal neglect under Oregon's new Omnibus Animal Protection Act—which increases penalties ffrom the level of misdemeanor to felony for animal cruelty offenses involving 11 or more animals. While the case was pending, Betty Boop and the other horses were under the care of Sound Equine Options—an organization that operates with a network of foster homes to care for large animals for which the Oregon Humane Society does not have the capacity.
After much delay, the animals' owner relinquished control of some of the horses, which allowed them to be put up for adoption. Unfortunately, Betty Boop was not a prime candidate for an adoptive home.
She is an older mare with far-too-ingrained habits to adjust easily to new training. And, she was reactive and fearful, which made training even more difficult and time-intensive. With no potential for adoption, there were few options available for her safe future. Fortunately, Duchess Sanctuary exists to give horses like Betty Boop a permanent, safe home.
In late March, 2014, Betty Boop arrived at Duchess. She joins more than 180 other horses who were saved from horse slaughter, Bureau of Land Management round-ups, and other forms of abuse and neglect. No one knows her breeding for sure, but Betty Boop is the first gaited horse to be welcomed at Duchess. Currently completing her three weeks of quarantine, she is adjusting to her new life and individual attention. She is still wary of too much human interaction, but seems to enjoy showing off her fancy gaits while anticipating breakfast and dinner or trying to attract the attention of the horses in a distant pasture.
In the next step of her rehabilitation, she will join another horse in a small paddock in hopes that she will form a bond and gain a friend. Finally, she and her paddock-companion will be turned out to join the "light herd"—a group of about 40 other small breed horses, including mustangs, appaloosas, and quarter horses. Arriving at this time of year means Betty will join the herd just before "spring turn-out"—the horses' favorite day—when the herds are released from their winter pastures and moved onto fresh green grass to graze.
Thanks to the rescue by the Oregon Humane Society, excellent rehabilitative care provided by Sound Equine Options, and now a permanent home at Duchess, Betty Boops' life has turned around and her future is very bright.