What a Week!

This has been the most diverse and busy week we have had in a very long time. So many things happened this week that our minds are left spinning trying to remember everything that happened day by day. It has been a whirlwind of activity and excitement with close to 50 animals coming into the shelter! To give you a look into our week, we will go over what happened day by day.

Sunday – We were contacted by the State Vet who was on her way to do an assessment on a cruelty case involving horses and other livestock.

We have worked with her on numerous cases before and she was asking for help because the Sheriff department didn’t have a place to hold livestock. We told her that we would be happy to help and by 10 PM Sunday night everything was arranged, packed up and scheduled for us to head out and make the over 4 hour trip first thing in the morning to help the animals in the case.

Monday – Monday morning Tawnee, Kristen, Sarah and Jonathan headed to Flintville, TN to meet up with the sheriff, the state veterinarian and volunteer photographer – Kisa Kavass.  The sheriff was at the courthouse working to get the required documentation from the judge for taking possession of the animals. At 11 in the morning we all arrived at the property and started doing the intake process and loading up the animals.  We would like to thank the state vet for her assistance with the intake process. In total there were 12 horses, 3 pot belly pigs, a nanny goat and a lamb that were seized. After all the animals were safely loaded in the trailers our team headed back to the shelter to get the animals settled. Watch a video of this rescue mission, click here.

Tuesday – Tuesday would be a very big day as we had planned a week prior to rescue at the auction.  Jonathan and Kristen, 2 of our staff members and several volunteers, headed on the 2 ½ hour drive to the auction. There was nearly 100 horses at the auction, and with your help we were able to save 25 precious lives from the slaughter pipeline! It was very late when the auction got over so our team made sure that the horses would be in safe pens for the night and caught a few hours of sleep so the horses could be moved to our shelter first thing in the morning.

Wednesday – We had been anxiously waiting for Wednesday to arrive because the ASPCA had said that they would make the big announcement of the winners for the Help a Horse Day contest at 1:00 pm ET.

At 9:00 in the morning 2 farriers arrived at our shelter that had been scheduled to come and trim all of the horses that came in from the seizure on Monday.  They did an excellent job and got all 12 done in short order.

At the auction the rescue team and volunteers were doing intake photos and figuring out which horses would ride best in the trailers together. We had to recruit another transporter because the two trailers we had at the auction would not move all of the horses to our shelter.  It took 3 large trailers to move the 25 rescued horses from the auction to our shelter.

At noon our time everyone was on the ASPCA’s Help a Horse Day page waiting for the big announcement. We had our fingers crossed and kept pushing the refresh button multiple times. We were in the division for the largest horse welfare organizations in the United States. We know we do a lot for horses, but didn’t know how we would stack up against the other organizations. The top prize for our division was $20,000. ASPCA posted a video at the time of the announcement and to our greatest excitement Horse Plus Humane Society was listed as the first place winner for our division. To watch the ASPCA’s Video announcing the winners and talking about the Help of Horse Day contest, click here.

In the early afternoon the 25 horses from the auction arrived safely at our shelter. We had everything ready for them and after they were unloaded the intake process began.  By evening all the horses had gone through the intake process and had settled into their pens, enjoying fresh water and yummy food.  All of our team were exhausted and excited about everything that happened that day.

Thursday – We had thought that Thursday would be a calmer day, doing assessments on horses and a few adoption appointments. But in the rescue world you have to be as fluid as the ocean and ready for anything. First thing in the morning we got a phone call about another seizure case that had to happen that day and our assistance was needed. We were going to be on standby and head out as soon as the sheriff had everything in order.


Tawnee (our founder and president) had a busy schedule ahead of her. She was headed to Shelbyville Tennessee with some volunteers where the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse Show, The Celebration, was about to start. Citizens Campaign Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty and Tawnee were going to speak with the city manager prior to protesting the Big Lick Horse Show. The Big Lick horse show is deeply rooted in the culture of Shelbyville and is where the largest Big Lick show is held. As people are now becoming aware of the cruelty behind the shows, and what it takes to get a horse to do the Big Lick, it is starting to shed a bad light on the city and they’re seeing less revenue from the show. This is what it takes to make change happen.  We are hoping that in time the Celebration horse show will show the true natural beauty and talent of Tennessee walking horses, not an artificially forced gait. Then the city would no longer have the reputation for celebrating horse abuse, and people could celebrate the Tennessee Walking Horses for their natural beautiful talent.  After meeting with the city manager and being interviewed, Tawnee and the volunteers headed to the Celebration to protest the cruelty behind the Big Lick gait. Spunky, our mascot, also came along to the protest. To watch a video from the protest, click here.

By this time the sheriff department had obtained all the requirements to seize the horse. Kristen and Sarah headed to the scene where the neglected horse was. They arrived at the scene and assisted the sheriff with the seizure. The horse was loaded into our trailer and transported safely back to our shelter. Watch a video of the rescue at this link, click here.

Friday – We learned that the owner of the seized horse from Perry County was arrested with animal cruelty charges and is now in jail being held on a $25,000 bond. To see the report, click here.  We would like to send a huge thank you to Perry County Sheriff Department for their quick action.  We need more Sheriff departments like them!

This has been a very busy week, so many different things happening in it. We are an Open Door shelter and rely solely on donations from people like you to keep our doors open and being a safe shelter to any horse that comes through our open doors. Thank you so much for your continued support!

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