All Rescued Mustangs Adopted

May 15, 2009

Mustangs Rescued from Nebraska Ranch on to Greener Pastures

All 211 Animals Placed in New Homes, Involved Parties Thrilled with Outcome

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: HfH Office 866-434-5737
Jerry Finch 409-682-6621

Update May 14, 2009

Cheyenne, WY – Just three weeks after more than 220 neglected horses and burros were seized from a Morrill County ranch, all of the animals have found new homes through Habitat for Horses, a Texas-based equine protection organization.

On April 22nd, 211 horses and burros were seized from Three Strikes Ranch, a private mustang facility just outside Alliance, Nebraska. An additional 74 animals were confirmed dead. Necropsy results on a number of these animals revealed significant fat and muscle atrophy, which is consistent with starvation. Jason Meduna, the ranch’s owner, was arrested on one count of felony animal cruelty, but additional charges are expected.

Following the seizure, the animals were moved to the Bridgeport Rodeo Grounds in Nebraska and later, the remaining mares were relocated to Cheyenne, WY. At the same time, the geldings and studs were sent to Black Beauty Ranch, a sanctuary in Texas owned by the Humane Society of the United States. On Thursday, the last of these mares was loaded on a trailer to her new home, bringing an end to the three week rescue operation, the largest of its kind in Nebraska history.

All 221 equine were placed with rescue organizations and adopters in more than 15 states. Katie Smith, a Wisconsin-based horse trainer, adopted two mares. Smith, a competitor in the Midwest Mustang Trainer’s Challenge, drove more than 14 hours to pickup her new charges, now named Snickers and Kimico. Asked about their adoption, Smith says “I went through all of the photos on the website, looking for horses with a ‘soft eye’. I couldn’t be happier with my choices! I was surprised to find that Snickers is halter broken. Kimico is still very scared, but is getting more curious every day. I’m amazed by her progress given what she has been through. Once they’re healthy and have had their foals, I’ll train them both for trail riding. Since hearing about this, I have been so angry and sad that these horses were allowed to deteriorate to this point – now I’m just beyond grateful for their rescue.”

Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses has been managing the rescue since April 18th. While relieved to return to his home in Texas, he is overjoyed with the outcome. “We started out three weeks ago with what seemed an insurmountable task – find placement for over 200 horses, nearly all unhandled mustangs. Today, every single one of these horses is in a safe, qualified facility and will never know the agony of starvation again. This extraordinary success would not have been possible without the efforts of partner organizations, volunteers and the local community.” Asked about what led up to the events at Three Strikes Ranch, Finch states, “These horses were not starved because of the economy or lack of domestic slaughtering: Meduna never sought help, continued to recklessly breed, and remains adamant that he did nothing wrong. We’re constantly bombarded with stories about the ‘Unwanted Horse Crisis’, including unsubstantiated reports of thousands of abandoned animals. From what we’ve seen here, this is not a crisis. With better controls on breeding and a little bit of time and effort, we can find safe placement for every unwanted horse. Unfortunately, too many people want the easy way out, which ultimately means their animals will endure tremendous suffering.”

A dedicated website was established which now includes photographs and updates of the adopted horses. For more information, please visit: http://nebraska200.horsereunions.com/. Donations can be made online at http://www.habitatforhorses.org or mailed to: Habitat for Horses, P.O. Box 213, Hitchcock, TX 77563.

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