Oahu Horse sanctuary poised to expand
Here on Oahu, a horse rescue shelter is marking its fifth year in operation and is now looking to expand to Colorado.
"I do have my own personal horses but I've got a lot of love to give these guys," said Betina Parker.
Parker has roots planted in both Hawaii and Colorado.
The founder of Equine 808 has responded to close to a hundred calls for help in the short time the horse rescue program has been in place.
"They see an emaciated horse or they see an owner abusing a horse or even help for themselves I have a horse. I don't know what to do with it," Parker said.
The Kunia ranch recently teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States
to host a workshop with law enforcement officers.
"We go over what to do in the field when you responding to a possible case of cruelty or neglect, when to involve a vetinarian, the proper documentation, and protocols that should be followed," said Inga Gibson who heads the HSUS Hawaii Chapter.
"We are getting a lot more calls, and more of an influx of horses too, at one point we were getting one horse a mont,” Parker said.
Parker said shelter staff compiled a book with before and after pictures of some of their success stories.
Recovery can take years, but Parker is happy Equine 808 has been able to successfully arrange more than two dozen horse adoptions.
Parker pointed to one horse in particular as she flipped through the pages of the book.
"He is a really patient horse we were able to give riding lessons with him
and he is sponsered by a military familiy who really loves that horse. And these are our donkeys," Parker said.
The feral donkey program is part of a major effort to find homes for hundreds of sterilized Kona nightingales rescued from the Big Island. Sixteen of the donkeys have been sent over to Oahu and have been adopted.
Another five arrive this week. They have been snatched up by ranchers to help with goat herds or to help keep horses company. One pony in particular happens to get along really well with two donkeys.
"We have two up here in Kunia. There are a lot of them in the Waimanalo and Hauula. They are getting around,” Parker said.
While the donkey program is ongoing, the shelter’s primary mission is still to rehabilitate rescued horses. It’s most recent rescue was just last week.
For information about Equine 808, you can call 590-1210.
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