Inspired By Borell Case, Volunteers Launch Non-Profit For Horses Seized In Neglect Investigations - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Inspired By Borell Case, Volunteers Launch Non-Profit For Horses Seized In Neglect Investigations

Z Camelot and Silver Cliff, two of the severely underweight horses from the Mercer County neglect case, shown in 2016. They have since made full recoveries.

In the wake of a large-scale animal neglect case centering on Breeders' Cup-winning trainer Maria Borell and her father Charles, Fox Hill Farm announced the formation of a new non-profit to help Kentucky horses from neglect situations. In a statement released on the stable's Facebook page, Fox Hill racing assistant Victoria Keith wrote The Equine Sanctuary Center of Kentucky will be the only 501(c)3 in the state aimed specifically at fostering and caring for horses seized in neglect investigations.

Keith, along with volunteers who cared for the Borell horses in Mercer County, Ky., realized such a facility was needed for horses whose legal ownership may be in question during an investigation, or while a case works its way for the courts. Although the horses in the Borell case are now in the care of several non-profits in the Lexington area, they have not yet been cleared for adoption through those non-profits until their legal ownership has been sorted out. Horses in this type of legal limbo can prove draining on organizations accustomed to housing horses for short terms until they find new homes.

A warrant has been issued for Maria Borell on 43 counts of animal cruelty after several dozen horses were discovered in various states of neglect earlier this summer on a property leased by Beacon Hill Farm. Her father, Charles, entered an Alford plea to nine counts of animal cruelty last month and will serve two years probation.

Keith told the Paulick Report The Equine Sanctuary Center does not yet have a physical location, but its board members are looking at several farms and hope to have a location next month.

Fox Hill Farm's statement follows below.

As many of you know, the case of abused and abandoned horses belonging to the Borells brought to light problems that exist in Kentucky that hinder getting proper help for these horses. One problem is that the current laws don't properly protect horses, so Fox Hill Farm hired an attorney who is working toward getting these laws changed.

A second problem is that there is no place to house and care for horses who are in the midst of abuse investigations. To this end, we're very happy to announce that a new non-profit has been established called The Equine Sanctuary Center of Kentucky.

Investigations and then moving through the legal system can take months or even years in abuse cases. Finding proper housing at their own expense is what can make a County reluctant to go through with confiscations of the horses.

Current non-profits such as New Vocations, Kentucky Equine Humane Center, and others are designed to take possession of surrendered horses to put through their rehabilitation and adoption programs. They do not have the resources available to house possibly dozens of horses for a lengthy period of time, leaving less or perhaps no room to bring in the horses that they are designed to help.

The Equine Sanctuary Center is the only State accredited 501c3 non-profit designed to foster and care for equines confiscated by the counties in the state of Kentucky. The mission and goal is to provide the state with a safe place to house the horses so that they will act quickly to remove horses from abusive and possibly life-threatening situations. Once the cases have gone through the court system, the Equine Sanctuary will network with reputable organizations such as the ones named above to place the horses in adoptive homes. While Thoroughbred horses will be a focus, the Equine Sanctuary Center will be available to all breeds of horses.

Angie Cheak and Marylu Ernsting, working in consultation with Rusty Ford of the Department of Agriculture, are the co-founders of The Equine Sanctuary Center. Victoria Keith of Fox Hill Farm was asked to be their Board Chair, and she was honored to accept that position. We are excited to see this much-needed resource be made available to law enforcement officials so that the horses get the care they need.

For more information, you may call:

Victoria Keith, Board Chair, 859-227-5441
Marylu Ernsting, Co-Founder & Vice Board Chair, 502-542-1673
Angie Cheak, Co-Founder & Executive Director, 859-325-5285

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