MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A sanctuary for elderly horses on Long Island is at risk of going out of business, and advocates have launched a campaign to raise funds to keep it going.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the Twin Oaks Horse Sanctuary in Manorville cares for animals that have been retired from racing, or were abused. If the facility closes, they will have nowhere to go at all.
“I feel the senior horses are the lost souls of the equine community,” said Jenny Zalak, whose family has run the Twin Oaks sanctuary for more than a quarter century.
Zalak’s mother started the sanctuary as a boarding stable. But as the animals grew old, Twin Oaks evolved into a nonprofit final resting place for elderly equines.
“When they get to be this age, they’re not really adoptable; they’re not really rideable anymore,” Zalak said.
Some horses at Twin Oaks have quite a history. Thirty-eight-year-old Missy suffered a stroke, Princess was abandoned when she got spooked giving riding lessons, Sham was in the rodeo and later developed arthritis, Saggy is a discarded track pony from Belmont, and the Secretariat’s grandson, Montague, has bad teeth at age 28.
And Zalak said an abused miniature show horse named Trixie was rescued from a mini-version of a puppy mill. Trixie is blind.
But the horse barns at Twin Oaks were damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and Twin Oaks has strained finances. The Zalaks’ resources must go first for food and medicine.
“I love them like they’re my children,” Zalak said. “I just hope to keep taking care of them.”
But Zalak is unsure how long Twin Oaks can afford to continue.
“Taken care for this many years; I’m just hoping everything works out,” Zalak said. “We’ve been here 26 years, and just now, in last few years have gotten difficult for us.”
For now, the rescue horses have been passing their days roaming and exercising.
“I try not to get too emotional about it, but if anything happens – Missy — taking care of 26 years?” Zalak said.
She said the animals could either end up being euthanized, or “you have to send them to the sales; they’ll just put them to slaughter, because they are elderly. People don’t want to take care of older animals.”
The Zalak family estimates the Twin Oaks Horse Sanctuary needs $1,500 a month to stay open. Supporters and volunteers have been ramping up fundraising efforts during the holidays.
Volunteers and supporters have also started a website, at TwinOaksSanctuary.com.
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