Millstone Twp., NJ --- Within a few days of the release of the shocking adoption statistics, a mare in trouble was removed from a home due to gross neglect.
The Standardbred Retirement Foundation found a 3-year-old filly, Sweet And Speedy Too, a loving home in 1990. In 1993 the family had the need to return her and so a new home was secured by the Foundation within a month. Three years later, once again, after safely enjoying life with an adopter in Pennsylvania she was displaced, but with SRF’s program she continued to be protected under their safety net and another well screened home was located.
The now 26-year-old mare that found a loving home with Selena Rodriguez in Trot Run, Pa., was doing well based on the receipt of semi-annually veterinary follow-up forms required by SRF indicating that the horse was in great shape and well cared for, enjoying companionship as a trail riding mount.
However, the recent past due veterinary follow-up form had SRF’s staff persistently trying to get the adopter, Rodriguez, to comply. When efforts failed and conversation raised a red flag, a truck and trailer was sent to re-claim the mare. Based on the Henneke Scoring System where a horse’s fat content is rated on a 10-1 scale, one being at risk for death, this mare was recovered in a condition 2, struggling to survive.
Sweet And Speedy had three homes over the years and was well cared for throughout until finally someone lost interest. It happens, and has happened several times.
“When 49 percent of adopted horses need more than two homes in their lifetime, follow-up and lifelong oversight are imminent,” says Paula Campbell. “We are there for them every step of the way, but lack of care for any horse, even in as brief a time as a few weeks to a month, results in a very quick downward spiral. If you don’t feed a horse they don’t live.”
Attorney Jeff Porcaro is enforcing SRF’s contract with this adopter to recover expenses for the rehabilitative care as a gift to the SRF. When asked through an e-mail if he would help, his response was bold and passionate. SRF is serious about its accountability to the donors who put their trust in the Foundation. Once rehabilitated, this mare may need to retire to pasture along with the 108 others SRF is paying care on for life. Her age makes her somewhat unattractive to adopters but efforts will be made to find her another home. SRF cares for them for life, as long as support provides the means to do so.