By: Courtney Dabney
Dogs and cats are often the first animals that come to mind when people think “Humane Society,” but the organization also has a longstanding equine program, helping horses recover from abuse and neglect.
On Aug. 5, the Humane Society of North Texas will host the HSNT Jamboree at Billy Bob’s Texas to raise money for the equine program. The Western-themed event features live music, a barbecue dinner, raffle and silent auction.
Each horse costs an average $150 to take care of, with the organization treating an average of 700 horses a year, said Sandy Shelby, senior director of development and communications of the Humane Society. The organization seizes animals suffering from abuse or neglect; rehabilitates them at ranches in Joshua, Crowley and Azle; and connects them to adopters.
The program is especially personal for Shelby, who says she grew up with horses throughout her life. She owned two horses – a mustang mare and Arabian and quarter horse mix – that both lived to be about 30. Working with horses today, she says, makes her feel “like being at home.”
“If it wasn’t for us, these animals would not have a voice for someone to go out there and help,” she said.
One memory that sticks out for her is the time the Humane Society rescued a mother horse, Bella, and her baby, Buttercup, about three years ago. Both had survived a barn fire – Bella had stood over Buttercup to protect him – and sustained burns from the incident. The Humane Society’s veterinarians spent weeks caring for the horses, and eventually, both were adopted together.
“That’s what Fort Worth is built on. Horses are part of our history,” Shelby said. “For anyone who is a horse lover, it just touches your heart knowing that there’s someone here looking out for that particular group of animals.”
And it’s not just dogs, cats and horses. The Humane Society also treats chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits and other animals in need.
“We never turn an animal away,” Shelby said.
By: Courtney Dabney