MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Social media exploded, and phones rang off the hook, after CBS2 aired a story earlier this week about a Long Island horse sanctuary in danger of closing.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan returned to the barn Friday to see how they were doing following the outpouring.
“Overwhelming, overwhelming,” said Jenny Zalak, whose family has run the Twin Oaks sanctuary for more than a quarter century. “I cannot believe how many people have responded that this many people care about my old horses.”
On Tuesday, CBS2 reported on the horse sanctuary in Manorville. It serves as a nonprofit final rest home for elderly equines that have been retired from racing, or were abused.
“They saw it on CBS Channel 2 News. They called — they wanted to know our address; where to send donations,” Zalak said.
The horse barns at Twin Oaks were damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and Twin Oaks was left with strained finances. Food and medical expenses were too much for Zalak’s family and a host of volunteers.
“I try not to get too emotional about it, but if anything happens to Missy – I’ve been taking care of her for 26 years,” Zalak said in the Tuesday report. She said if she had to close the sanctuary, the animals would have to be euthanized or else “you have to send them to the sales, you know, they’ll just put them to slaughter.”
Missy, who recently suffered a stroke, is the grande dame of the sanctuary at age 38.
“She suffered a stroke. One of the side effects is she lost a little of her eyesight and hearing on the right side,” Zalak said.
Another horse named Sham, formerly in the rodeo, has arthritis. Princess was abandoned upstate when her back got too weak to carry riders. Saggy was discarded trick pony from Belmont, and a miniature horse named Trixie was described by Zalak as being “rescued from a mini version of a puppy mill.”
Zalak said she has received numerous calls after the Tuesday report, including many from senior citizens.
“They said, ‘We can’t give a lot, but we love what you’re doing,” Zalak said. “And I said it doesn’t matter. Five dollars buys me a new halter.”
Zalak showed CBS2 the Facebook page for Twin Oaks, which has suddenly exploded with chatter from people who care.
“We’ve had offers to fix the roof. Donations have been pouring in. The phone rings not stop, and it’s amazing,” Zalak said.
Others want to give grain and hay, and come to bond with the retired horses. Even some veterinarians planned to make house calls.
“I can’t even say in words how grateful we are,” she said.
While no firm number was in as of Friday, if the pledges come to fruition, there is now real hope that Twin Oaks can remain open. They had planned to close at the first of the year.
The legendary Secretariat’s 28-year-old grandson, Montague, is also among the horses at Twin Oaks. He will get some much-needed dental care for his bad teeth thanks to the generosity of strangers.
Twin Oaks started as a boarding stable. But as the animals grew old, it evolved into a nonprofit hospice.
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