As the economic crisis worsens, the loss of homes for so many has yielded an unprecedented rise in animal abandonment. The expense of housing and caring for horses and other large domesticated animals has proven too much for many Americans, and now the animals face slaughter if they cannot find adoption or sanctuary.
Responding to this crisis, Lompoc’s wild horse sanctuary, Return to Freedom-an organization begun in 1997 that’s devoted to finding new owners and care for countless homeless horses-is trying desperately to get the word out about the numerous deserted horses.
“For cats and dogs, there is a shelter system,” said Return to Freedom’s Jill Anderson. While disowned house pets often find their way to the ASPCA and into a system of pet stores that house smaller animals and campaign for adoption, there is no similar system in place to help abandoned horses. The expense and space requirements of housing larger animals make any kind of shelter system very daunting, Anderson said.