Local Horse Rescue Faces Economic Hardship

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Tight finances in difficult economic times have forced some animal owners to give up their pets, but a local organization is working to give horses a second chance at life.

Victoria Goss owns Athens County's Last Chance Corral, a 25-year-old horse rescue farm, which cares for sick and unwanted horses and prepares them for eventual adoption.

In 2007, the farm was able to rescue over 200 horses, but now economic times have made that more difficult.

"People just don't have the discretionary income to afford to take on an extra animal," Goss said. "They've come to the point where they have to ask, can I take my children to the dentist or feed a horse?"

Goss says the problem is twofold: more people are giving away their animals and fewer people have the money to adopt a horse, leaving Last Chance Corral with a full stable.

If horses are turned away because of a lack of space, they are often sent to be slaughtered.

Despite the challenges presented by the economy, Goss says most horses only stay at the farm for a few weeks.

The Internet has allowed the organization to ship horses all over the country for adoption. But Goss says she still keeps some close to home. The organization regularly donates horses to mounted patrols and programs that help people with special needs.

"We try to put them back into a place with 4-Hers, somewhere they're going to do good with the community, since hopefully the community is helping us to help them," she said.