Horse Rescue groups get Christmas Miracle, save 19 horses, donkeys from 'kill buyers' at auction

Move keeps horses off dinner tables overseas
Posted at 12:31 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 15:29:15-05

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Five local horse rescue groups banded together Wednesday, in an effort to outbid "kill buyers" at a local livestock auction.

They ended up saving 19 of the 21 horses, donkeys and mules they bid on.

“We’re so excited,” said Amber Davis of CHEER, (Colorado Horse Education & Equine Rescue.)

“It was awesome,” said Billie Douglas. “It couldn’t have gotten any better.  And good prices.  We saved a lot of horses.”

It’s rare that horse rescue groups work together because each has its own particular focus.  Some focus solely on horses that are slaughter bound, while other’s might take in owner surrenders.

"We love horses," said Jacqui Avis of Drifter's Hearts of Hope, "They're our life and they our souls."

Avis told Denver7 that many people think of horses as livestock, but not rescue people.

"They're up there with dogs," she said. "They're like man's best friend."

Terri Allen, of Terolyn Horse Rescue in Elizabeth, said nearly 180-thousand horses are shipped across the borders to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada every year.

That’s why Drifter’s Hearts of Hope, CHEER, Safe Landing Horse Rescue, Terolyn Horse Rescue and Sunny Day Rescue banded together.

“We thought that for Christmas, we’d try to go to the auction and buy everything,” Avis said, “so at least nothing local ends up going to slaughter for Christmas.”

“It’s amazing to me that these horses ended up in the auction, because they are basically pets that have gone down a bad path,” said Michael Levy, a volunteer at Terolyn.

In the past, some of the groups have independently try to save horses from slaughter.

“It’s absolutely heart breaking not to be able to save all of them,” Allen said. “We try to make a difference for the horses that we can save.”

When asked what will happen with the horses the combined rescue groups bid on, Jax Penn, of Terolyn Horse Rescue said, “They’re going to get spoiled rotten.  They’re going to get too many cookies and lots of love.  They’re going to think they died and went to heaven.”