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Archive for Sunday, August 31, 2008

Horse sanctuary saved through donations

August 31, 2008

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A Northern California sanctuary for hundreds of old and ailing horses that was in danger of shutting down has received enough donations from well-wishers to continue operating through the winter, its manager said Friday.

"Our situation is a complete reversal of what it was only a few weeks ago," said Barbara Clarke, who runs the remote Dream Catcher sanctuary, about 120 miles northwest of Reno, Nev. "The support has been overwhelming - in capital letters."

The plight of Clarke's nonprofit, formerly called Dream Catcher/a.k.a. Equus Sanctuary, was detailed in a recent Los Angeles Times article. She said hundreds of horses would have to be euthanized if the sanctuary shut down.

Essentially, the recent closure of a Southern California horse sanctuary with a similar name had a devastating effect on her operation, which houses aging, ill or abandoned horses. In June, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control raided the Equus Sanctuary. Fifteen of the 100 horses were in such poor health that they had to be euthanized. The manager, Janis Damiani, was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison after pleading no contest to animal abuse charges.

Clarke's donors mistakenly came to believe that her sanctuary for 200 mustangs and domestic horses and the one raided by animal control authorities were, as she put it, "one and the same."

Her financial troubles eased after the Times article was published.

"We've received more than $70,000 in donations," said Clarke, 60. "One donation was for $50,000, and it was made anonymously."

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