Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tragedy Ends at Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Update from Jerry Finch ~ Founder/President of Habitat for Horses
This Saturday is the final auction of the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue. Everything – absolutely everything, is going.
A letter to the HfH Membership:
One who did not make it ~ photo by Jerry Finch
There are words to be said here, partly of a deep anger at the staff and management of MSLAR for all the death and destruction they caused, for the lies told to those who sent their loved animals to live their final days in peace, only to have their days end in the cold and misery from starvation while the caretakers stayed warm inside their luxury home with an indoor swimming pool.
I spent three weeks in that death pit, working along side some wonderful people, trying to salvage what we could of the 1,200 lives that were as close to death as life can come without crossing over. 130 of those were equine, 700+ were llamas, 35 were cattle. In addition, there were sheep, goats, exotic birds, pigs, camels, bison, chickens, geese… the list was almost endless. Those were the animals that were still alive when we took over. Many didn’t make it, far too many were too weak, too far gone to make it to another home. Horses had to be put down, llamas died by the dozens, donkeys couldn’t walk another step, cattle fell on the glazed ice and couldn’t stand.
In the cold grounds of the Montana mountains, the deep freeze makes digging a hole impossible. In addition, the Native American Tribes do not want animals euthanized with the “blue juice.” Humane euthanasia is carried out by gunshot. Done correctly, it’s quick. That gun went off far too many times, each sound bore a hole through those of us who pulled the trigger and those of us who watched. Each shot was another broken promise, a lie told to a former owner and even worse, a lie told to an animal who was totally and completely dependent on the caretaker for food, water and health care.
The emotional wreckage of those who came to save what they could truly hit home when one of them handed the gun to me one afternoon and, with tears streaming from swollen eyes, said, “You have to do this for awhile. If I do it again, I’m afraid I’ll use it on myself.”
This was once a dream sanctuary. It could have been perfect, it could have provided exactly what it meant to provide – the safety and protection of a forever home for those few animals that, for whatever reason, were picked by caring and loving humans to live in peace.
This is a link to the auction, with dozens of pictures of the equipment. The snow is still there, although most of it has melted down to a few inches. If you look at it, picture the hundreds of animals once crying out for help. It took the efforts of a lot of us. In the end, every blessed animal still living was put in a trailer and moved to another location with, God willing, caretakers who give a damn about things other than themselves.
Somewhere around 20 of the horses will be coming to the ranch later this month, the first load around the 17th. I’d love to have you be here, not to do a “lookie see” but to be part of a welcome, to help them understand that humans, for the most part, really are humane. Life has not been good to them for a long time.
Now God has seen fit to place their care in our hands. That’s a big responsibility, but together, we can and will do it.
Jerry Finch
Habitat for Horses, Inc.
PO Box 213
Hitchcock, TX 77563

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