Monday Oct 17 2011
Foundation of love
By: Anne Stokes, Telegraph Correspondent
Animals find homes thanks to Grace organization
Tucked away off of Latrobe Road, amid 20 acres of golden rolling hills dotted with oak trees, The Grace Foundation is a promised land for hundreds of neglected, abused, and abandoned animals. What started out in 2002 with 16 horses from a cruelty case out of Sacramento County has grown to nearly 300 horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, sheep, and pigs all of whom find refuge in Beth DeCaprio’s El Dorado Hills sanctuary. “We have 176 horses on the ranch right now, 66 of which are up for adoption, and we have about 100 other animals,” said DeCaprio. “And we receive probably 30 calls a week from people trying to re-home their animals. So we are in a difficult situation, in as much as we want to take on more, we have to get horses out. We’ve rescued and re-homed about 350 animals so far this year.” In addition to the increase in animal surrenders due to the economy, a large scale animal cruelty case in Susanville resulted in the addition of 56 horses to Grace’s livestock. Along with them came the added expense of several thousand dollars a year per horse. In response, volunteer Kathleen McPherson envisioned the Grace Foundation’s first Octoberfest adoption event. “Good things come in scruffy packages,” said McPherson, “and if people are willing to take a chance, there are some great horses out here to be had.” “This is the only place I know of where you can buy a horse and take it home with a buy-back guarantee,” she added. “If it doesn’t work out, they so badly want the adoptions to be successful, you can bring the horse back. And I don’t know anyplace else you can do that. And you’re re-homing some great horses.” Not that the colt that she fostered is being returned anytime soon. “I’m a bad foster parent,” admits McPherson. “I failed miserably, because he’s not going anywhere, he’s now [at my home] permanently.” Fellow volunteer Debbie Carion also adopted one of the Susanville seizure horses. “I am such a believer in the organization and this is the only place I’d get a horse,” she said. “I volunteer here at least 2 or 3 times a week and work with all the horses, and it’s just amazing what they do with them here.” “We really want people to look at rescued horses the same way they look at rescued dogs,” said DeCaprio. “People don’t proudly say ‘I spent $1500 on a pure-bred dog’ anymore. It’s cooler to be somebody who has a rescue dog. And we want the same to be true with horses.” Animals are available for adoption all year long, not merely during last Saturday’s adoption event. Alongside horses, shelter dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens who were on the verge of euthanasia are now available to good homes. Grace has also had a recent influx of goats and sheep to boot. A listing of available animals can be viewed on their website at thegracefoundationofnorcal.org. “Our hope is that people really see the treasure in these animals,” DeCaprio said.