Grace rides in to save hurt horses

Rescuers worked their way past a multitude of dead horses to save live animals
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Volunteers from the Grace Foundation were once again rescuing abused and neglected horses, taking in more than 35 from a Susanville ranch — and those were the lucky ones. Escorted by Lassen County officials and police, volunteers from the El Dorado Hills equine rescue and rehabilitation group seized the malnourished horses — many pregnant mares, along with goats and resident dogs. Rescue volunteers made their way through the property walking amid the corpses of a multitude of horses. Foundation Founder Beth DeCaprio said this most recent was a “huge case.” Just a few months back in May, the foundation rescued 20 horses from the same ranch where the horses were stunted from a lack of nutrients after the owner could no longer feed them. “This case is sad for many reasons. Only a few years back, these well-bred, beautiful horses were used for lessons and trail rides and were part of a thriving business,” DeCaprio said. “These horses were allowed to cohabitate with stallions and three mares have already dropped foals.” The foundation currently does not have the resources to feed or house the most recent acquisitions and were fortunate to find placement at an Auburn ranch. “The economics of this … well, it’s a very scary time,” DeCaprio said. “This is a horrible case of cruelty with more than 20 horses found dead on the property.” The owner of the Susanville property reportedly lost his home and was no longer financially capable of caring for the horses that were left to die. DeCaprio said there had previously been five stallions at the property. When she returned in late August, only one remained alive. “I am heartbroken over the lives we couldn’t save,” she said. “That’s a hard pill for me to swallow.” With the price of hay currently hovers around $15 per bale and the Grace ranch goes through at least 25 per day — at a cost of roughly $375 per day or $11,250 per month. This cost does not include any oats or food supplements required to feed the malnourished equine. Grace was requested by Lassen County, Wells Fargo and Bank of America to take possession of these horses and provide them with the much-needed medical care and rehabilitation that they so desperately need. The two banks stepped up and helped out with much needed funds. “We are grateful to these banks for supplying grant money to help care for these animals, but this is just the start and we are in desperate need of food and donations,” DeCaprio said. She said the horses should recover after receiving the medical care they need and should be up for adopt on Oct. 15 during adoption day at the ranch. The Grace Foundation, whose mission it is to rescue and rehabilitate abused and neglected horses as well as other animals, has taken in more than 210 animals since the first of 2011. The Grace Foundation is asking for the public’s help through monetary donations and volunteerism. For more information, call (916) 941-0800 or visit