The Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue initiated the quarantine July 5 over “equine strangles.”
By Duncan Adams
The center had voluntarily initiated the quarantine July 5 after five horses were determined to be suffering from the common disease. It lifted related restrictions Oct. 20.
Ultimately, 13 horses at the center had the disease, said Pat Muncy, executive director. One died. Two horses went blind, and Muncy said she attributes their lost sight to complications tied to equine strangles.
In August, about one month into the quarantine, the rescue center had 33 horses and wasn’t accepting new horses or seeking homes for the animals on hand.
As of Wednesday, the center had 51 horses.
Muncy attributed the increase primarily to the struggling economy. For one thing, she said, people have returned so far this year 11 horses previously adopted and other potential adopters are wary of adding the expense of caring for an animal.
“People are losing their homes. They’ve lost their jobs. They’ve had to give up their farms,” Muncy said. “We have horses up for placement but nobody is taking them. It’s bad. It’s the economy.”
And with so many horses on hand, the horse rescue center needs volunteers to help care for the animals, she said.
“There’s 51 of them that can use some hands-on attention,” Muncy said.
Founded by Muncy in 2002 on 21 acres in Hardy, the nonprofit Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue works to find homes for horses that might have been abandoned, injured, neglected, seized or otherwise left in distress.