All You Have to Be is Humane.
The RV barn program, headquartered at Billie’s Barn (named after major funder Billie Howland Steffee), has saved 65 horses since 2005 when the barn was built. While we provide education and assistance to owners, our court certified humane agent has the authority, with a court issued warrant, to take animals into our protective custody if laws have been broken and, without intervention, they are acutely suffering or in danger of dying.
This is difficult work. It is not a given that a starving horse, for example, can be saved. But Rescue Village is willing to spend thousands of dollars (that will never be made up by adoption fees) on their care, rehabilitation, and rehoming. We are required to enforce the law and we believe all animals deserve our moral concern.
Geauga County is a center for the horse industry in Ohio. It is not surprising that, while most horse owners take decent care of their equines, there are a few owners who allow their horses to dangerously decline in health and well-being. Rescue Village works closely with qualified veterinarians to make medical evaluations. In fact, we encourage owners who are unable to properly care for their horses to contact Rescue Village for assistance before the situation becomes critical.
The myth that humane societies, like Rescue Village, save horses in order to sell them at a profit could not be farther from the truth. Rescue Village picks up the entire cost of humane law enforcement in Geauga County – we receive no government funding. We enforce the laws pertaining to dogs, cats, horses, and farm animals. The barn program exists to carry out this responsibility. You can imagine the heartbreak when a normally 1,100 pound horse comes to us weighing 800 pounds.
It takes months to successfully bring an abused or neglected horse back to health and even more time to rehabilitate and rehome them. Community members who donate to or volunteer with the barn
program get tremendous satisfaction helping to bring dignity, better health, and safety to these animals. This, not financial gain, is the reward. Watching a horse regain his/her health, “brightness,” spirit, trust, playfulness, and movement is worth every dollar we spend. The cost of the RV barn program is approximately $120,000 annually. In 2017, we received $2,500 in adoption fees for all barn animals.
The RV barn program is a friend to the people, horses, and farm animals of Geauga County. This service continues with the support of the community. Ending cruelty and neglect – it is the law AND it is the right thing to do! We (and, most importantly, they) thank you. ■