End of Life Decisions

We never take end of life decisions lightly.

What is a Full Circle of Life Horse Shelter?

 A Full Circle of Life Horse Shelter is an open admission shelter that helps all horses in every stage of life regardless of their age, behavior, training or medical condition. Having compassion for all horses no matter what stage of life they are in is a priority of a Full Circle of Life Horse Shelter. From the beginning to the end horses find safety, love, and compassion at a Full Circle of Life Horse Shelter. This model of sheltering horses has been in practice for over a decade at Horse Plus Humane Society and has proven to be very successful. Most horse rescue organizations focus on a particular stage of a horse's life, the most adoptable stage. That philosophy leaves many horses with no place to go and no help or resources for them because they are simply in the wrong stage of their life. A Full Circle of Life Horse Shelter is there for horses at every stage of life from the beginning to the end.  

Horse Plus Humane Society Euthanasia Policy

Horse Plus Humane Society believes that humane euthanasia is the kindest option for unadoptable horses. Horses being killed in slaughterhouses or suffering neglect until death is not a humane option for unadoptable horses. Horse Plus Humane Society's preferred method of euthanasia is sedation and lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital. Horse Plus Humane Society recognizes and respects the research behind the American Association of Equine Practitioners approved guidelines for humane euthanasia and methods for horses. 

A horse should not have to endure the following:

    - Continuous or unmanageable pain from a condition that is chronic and incurable.

   -  A medical condition or surgical procedure that has a poor prognosis for a good quality of life.

   -  Continuous analgesic medication and/or box stall confinement for the relief of pain for the rest of its life.

   -  An unmanageable medical or behavioral condition that renders it a hazard to itself or others.

Sheltering Environment:

   -  Horse Plus Humane Society’s Sheltered Equine Point System should be considered when making decisions on unadoptable horses when space or resources is a factor. The horse with the largest amount of points maybe be considered unadoptable in that situation.

Euthanasia Methods

The following AAEP approved euthanasia techniques are acceptable by properly trained personnel. There are a variety of different circumstances which makes the following methods necessary in certain situations to prevent suffering or in accordance with local carcass removal regulations:

  -  Lethal dose of barbiturates (intravenous) (prior sedation should be considered when possible)

  -  Gunshot to the brain (prior sedation should be considered when possible)

  -  Penetrating captive bolt to the brain using an extended bolt designed for euthanasia (prior sedation should be considered when possible)

  -  Lidocaine hydrochloride 2% (intrathecal) with the horse in a surgical plane of general anesthesia

  -  A concentrated solution of either potassium chloride (intravenous) or magnesium sulfate (intravenous) with the horse in a surgical plane of general anesthesia

  -  Alternative methods may be necessary in special circumstances under the discretion of a licensed veterinarian.

Horse Plus Humane Society embraces that humane euthanasia for horses is the best option for horses that are unadoptable. Horses being slaughtered is unacceptable as it would be with any other pet animal or companion animal.

Sheltered Equine Point System


Horse Plus Humane Society’s Sheltered Equine Point System should be considered when making decisions on unadoptable horses when space or resources is a factor. The horse with the largest amount of points maybe be considered unadoptable in that situation.

Category 1 | One point for each check mark in this category                                  

▢: Hard to catch                                                                                                         

▢: Horses in Rehabilitation                                                                                     

▢: Chronic cribbers. If they crib/chew only when bored

▢: Pulls back when tied, only when in a fear reaction, may respond to training.

▢: Unhandled stallions between 5 and 8 yr.

▢: Poor farrier care requiring extensive correction

▢: Chronic repetitive movements such as weaving

▢: Blind but well adjusted

▢: Bad conformation

Category 2 |  Two point for each check mark in this category  

▢▢: 300 Days at Adoption Center

▢▢: Horses that have received only halter training over 15 years of age

▢▢: Wind sucking, which leads to chronic health problems

▢▢: Hard keeper

▢▢: Horses unable to have regular vet care administered because of behavior issues

▢▢: Pushy horses consistently not showing respect for humans space.

▢▢: Consistently jumps fences

▢▢: Rears up or bucks under saddle

▢▢: Extremely bad conformation  or deformity

Category 3 | Three point for each check mark in this category 

▢▢▢: Horses over 20 years old.

▢▢▢: Unhandled stallions over 8 years old

▢▢▢: Mild cases of swayback

▢▢▢: Chronic puller - Breaking halters, leads, hitching post - horse is not responding
▢▢▢: Not responding to rehab

▢▢▢: Horses requiring injections or daily medication

▢▢▢: Completely unhandled horses over the age 15

Category 4 | Four point for each check mark in this category 

▢▢▢▢: Horses with serious contagious disease

▢▢▢▢: Chronic lameness

▢▢▢▢: Cancer

▢▢▢▢: Hoof problems not solved with corrective care

▢▢▢▢: Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis

▢▢▢▢: Blind and not well adjusted

▢▢▢▢: Chronic female problems

Category 5 | Five point for each check mark in this category 

▢▢▢▢▢: Horses 30 years old or older 

▢▢▢▢▢: Cryptorchid stallions of any age

▢▢▢▢▢: Severely swaybacked horses

▢▢▢▢▢: Consistently shows aggression to humans by intentionally biting, kicking or striking 

▢▢▢▢▢: No respect for human space showing aggressive behavior

▢▢▢▢▢: Chronic health condition

▢▢▢▢▢: A horse requiring large amount of financial resources in medical procedures.

▢▢▢▢▢: Creating a dangerous environment for the horse or handler


Donations of Mercy
Are Needed!

If you feel called to help us help the horses that no one else will becuase of chronic medical problems failing health and that are suffering, please make a donation right now to our Last Act of Kindness Fund and allow us to continue to help horses that need final rest and peace. 

Donate

Who Are The Horses in The Photos?

The horses seen in the beautiful photography on our website are all horses that we have rescued. Kisa Kavass Designs comes out to our shelter and captures beautiful photography of rescued horses, she does an amazing job - Thank you Kisa!

Gallery