HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Eight horses are safe and well fed after being rescued from bad conditions on a small, muddy hillside near Hood River.
The rescue happened Saturday, March 11, in a pouring rain.
Betty Osborne and her husband Kurt helped out. They own Wind Dance Stables in Hood River. As long time horse people, they felt astonished at the conditions here.
“This was horrific. Absolutely horrific,” said Betty.
The effort to save the horses started last summer. Neighbors Sharon Acree and her husband Randy noticed that things looked bad even then.
“Couple times this summer, it started in August, he came back raging ‘call the animal control call the sheriff!’" she said.
But nothing happened. The horses endured the harsh winter with little shelter and not enough food.
Local vet Mike Foss was called in to take a look.
“It happens. It’s really more common than people realize,” he said, speaking about animal neglect.
Eventually, those pushing for a rescue found Lisa Neuburger, President of Silent Wave Horse Rescue based in White Salmon, near Hood River.
“It was disgusting and sickening,” she said about the conditions the horses were in.
She visited the horses and got mad. As a former two-time Olympian in wind surfing (for the Virgin Islands) she knows how to put emotion into action.
And her motivation comes from a place deeper than you might suspect.
“I’m just grateful. My father is a holocaust survivor. And I feel, you know, very grateful you know for being around. And got that gratitude from him and it’s time to give back,” she said.
Lisa Neuburger was not about to back down.
“So I went to the Sheriff and the DA and got the ball rolling legally and it took eight days. So it went pretty fast. But I called every single day or showed up every day,” she said.
After legal maneuvers, Neuburger was forced to pay the horse owner $1,600 for the animals. She was not happy about that but felt it was worth it.
Now the horses are off the muddy hillside and in new homes or at foster placements around Oregon.
The effort is a reminder to us all, caring does make a difference. Getting involved can change the world for those who cannot do it themselves.
Silent Wave Horse Rescue needs funds for the care of the horses. The nonprofit says donations are tax deductible and can be made to email@example.com via paypal.