On December 20, the Santa Rosa County Horse Assistance Council (SRCHAC), shut their doors as a 501c3 corporation. With the slogan of "neighbors helping neighbors," Maureen Cleveland says it's surprising but the lack of volunteer effort which caused the organization to halt it's efforts of assisting horse owners during difficult times. She says the webpage will stay up to help with education.
"Volunteering is very important to me as are horses are very important to me," she says about continuing being available to those who need help with their horses, "but it's not feasible to keep it going with just a few to keep it together."
Cleveland says the majority of the horse population is well cared for; however, there are a growing number of horses who suffer from neglect, abuse or abandonment. The SRCHAC mission was to provide the county with volunteer help and financial assistance needed to assist in the handling of horse welfare issues, improving upon the welfare of the nearly 14,000 horses in Santa Rosa County.
In 2013, the SRCHAC aided 45 horses with grant funds from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and also aided 42 horses requiring additional assistance from grant funding and matching funds with the Unwanted Horse Coalition, Inc.
Cleveland says the majority of assistance went toward hay, vaccinations, emergency medical and dentistry, emergency euthanasia and gelding (castrations). Other avenues of assistance with SRCHAC were education through free public seminars and clinics, educational information and resource brochures. Cleveland says some of these programs will continue to remain available through the website or email. She says during the 7 years the council's existence, education about equine wellness increased. She is still very interested in keeping this aspect going. The opportunity for SRCHAC to provide low cost clinics for dental care, blood test, castration and vaccinations provided for participants will unfortunately no longer available.