Equine Humane Center needs help to cope with influx of horses

The Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville is facing a hay-flow crisis — an increase in need as the economic recession hits home and a decrease in cash on hand as contributions drop off.

"We need money. ... We need funding to continue to keep the program going," said Lori Neagle, executive director. "We're not out of money, but we need financial support.

"We need volunteers, too," she said.

Neagle said the horse shelter, which takes horses of all breeds and does not turn away animals, gets three or four calls every week about horses in crisis.

The shelter stable is full, with about 40 horses, and already has scheduled arrivals of more horses to be surrendered into August.

Neagle said Thursday that she got another call, this time a complaint of 27 starving Thoroughbred mares in Mercer County. And the phone keeps ringing.

Humane Center board member Meg Jewett, owner of L.V. Harkness and Walnut Hall Ltd., said the shelter has been hit with a "double whammy."

Charitable contributions are down, but "the numbers of horses we're receiving go up," Jewett said. "We can't shut the doors. We won't shut the doors. We're struggling with what everybody else is, but we're helping so many more horses at this time."

In a way, the economic crisis is actually a triple whammy: Neagle said fewer horses are being adopted out now.

"People aren't wanting to take on another horse unless they're financially secure," she said.

"The horses need us, so we need to be here to help them."