More horses needing homes in Aiken leave shelters strapped

By: Kristi Ludlow Email
By: Kristi Ludlow Email
Abandoned horses in Aiken

With increasing numbers of abandoned horses in Aiken and shelters filling up, many aren't sure where to turn. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 2, 2011)

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- For every horse the Equine Rescue of Aiken adopts out, they say there are another 10 waiting for a stable.

Brownie might be getting a new home Wednesday, but a lot of horses here at the Equine Rescue of Aiken won't.

"We get calls from people every day having trouble with their horses, needing to place their horses," said Jim Rhodes with the Equine Rescue of Aiken.

Rhodes says it's an alarming trend in Aiken County, a place that has always been a huge horse community.

"I don't have an answer for where these people can go with these horses when we are full; we are full and can't take anymore," explained Rhodes.

The rescue has room for around 60 horses, and right now they are exhausting all of their resources.

"I have about 17 horses that are fostered out, where local farms have said, 'I have room for one horse or I have room for two horses,'" he said.

Meanwhile, the horses keep coming. They just took in two horses that were abandoned on the side of the road in the county last week.

And more horses means more money.

"These are domesticated animals that don't know how to take care of themselves," Rhodes said.

And in this economy, a lot of horse owners are struggling.

"We have had several horses where the husband has lost his job, and they can't afford to take care of the horses anymore," he told us.

And Rhodes is also getting calls for help from major racetracks around the country.

"When you start getting the top-notch horses and the better horses, and the horses that have won a half million dollars on the track," he explained it's proof that this isn't getting any better.

The Aiken SPCA has also seen an increase in abandoned horses, and they can only keep two at their shelter. The Equine Rescue of Aiken is the first place the SPCA calls when they need assistance, too.

For more information on the Equine Rescue of Aiken, visit its website.

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