ACE started as a grassroots plan to find solutions and now is a statewide support system.
September 17, 2012
Updates from the Arizona Coalition for Equines
Keep Pace with ACE!
How We Are Helping
The premier goal of the Arizona Coalition for Equines (ACE) is to give equine owners the tools to help equines thrive in their care. That’s why ACE organized an Assistance Program to give help on a temporary, short-term basis to owners who have suffered personal setbacks, threatening their ability to keep and care for their horses.
To date, ACE has handled inquiries or requests for assistance on more than 200 equine cases statewide, involving hard-hit caregivers trying to keep and feed their horses. ACE has done this work on the quiet, with hand-to-mouth financial support, and little notice. Sometimes frantic horse owners have found ACE online, sometimes they are linked up by horse rescues that are jammed full now. ACE aims to prevent the tragic last resort of starvation,seizure, abandonment or slaughter, by providing vital feed, and in some cases, hoof, dental and medical care so people can maintain their beloved animals at home. This help can only be temporary, but it can buy owners enough time to get back on their feet or find new homes for their horses, mules, donkeys or ponies.
To stretch our impact as far and wide as possible, ACE is forming partnerships with equine rescues and sanctuaries, as well as private individuals throughout Arizona. Our newest venture involves vital work with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. We owe a huge thanks to all who have stepped forward to become a part of the statewide helping hands for horses and owners!
Here are the stories of just a few of the horses, owners and situations helped by ACE Assistance in recent months:
During the past year, a retired couple near Prescott was forced to watch a neighbor’s horses slowly starve to death next door. After repeatedly calling authorities and vainly appealing to the mostly absent owner, the couple and several neighbors could stand it no longer and went in and rescued the four surviving horses after one died. The couple brought home an emaciated palomino suffering a severe genital infection, then started providing vet care and feed to try to save the horse’s life. But with the bad economy grinding on and facing their own medical problems, the family emptied their savings, fell into poverty and struggled to keep their home. Desperate to find help for the palomino, Sonny, they found ACE and within 24 hours, ACE started providing hay and supplements, while Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary raised funds for the surgery the horse needed. Today, thanks to the ACE network, Sonny is healthy and sleek and shiny, living in safety at the Atlasta Home Horse Rescue near Chino Valley. “I can’t thank these people enough,” said the husband, writer Jeff Kirkendall. “This whole network - and ACE is at the heart of it - when they move, it happens. They get it done, they are so effective. I’m at peace for Sonny now. There is no way to say how much that means.”
A young woman called ACE this spring, asking that we help two starving horses owned by relatives in an impoverished south side Tucson neighborhood. During a site visit, ACE field responders found two skeletal bags of bones standing unsheltered in broken-down pens strewn with beer bottles and garbage. Fortunately, the family - only occasionally employed and unable to afford feed - agreed to release the horses to ACE. Within a week, ACE transported the starving animals to Escalante Springs Equine Rehabilitation in Tucson, where today, these two fortunate horses are making a terrific comeback with unlimited feed and TLC.
This summer, a financially struggling family in the Picture Rocks area north of Tucson asked ACE for financial help to euthanize their old, previously abused and permanently injured buckskin quarter horse. ACE field responders visited the family and assessed the horse and the need for euthanasia. An evaluation by ACE board member and Tucson veterinarian Dr. Michael Hutchison determined that the leg injury was chronic and somewhat disabling, but that the horse was not suffering acute pain and was able to maintain sufficient mobility and decent body condition. So, rather than euthanize, and with the owner's blessing, ACE arranged to transport Buddy to the Havenwalk Ranch in Sonoita, where he is thriving on good food and grazing on acres of green grass in the company of other horses, and where he will live out the remainder of his life.
An older couple living on social security and struggling with medical bills in the St. John’s area of northern Arizona contacted ACE for help to feed their five horses and one pony. ACE provided feed until they were able to sell a parcel of land to ease their financial crunch. ACE did the same for an unemployed Casa Grandewoman with two horses, funding feed for a month until she landed a new job, and for another owner inChino Valley, feeding her two horses until she was able to find them a new home.
Neighbors upset about two starving horses in a Mohave Valley neighborhood turned to ACE for help. During a site visit to the horses’ home, an ACE field responder persuaded the owners to release one of the horses to the Last Straw Rescue, then counseled them on proper feeding of their remaining horse. ACE maintained contact with the observant neighbors to ensure the horse was being fed and regaining health.
In addition to providing short-term assistance in times of need, there are cases where owners simply do not provide the minimum level of care necessary for their equines to survive, let alone thrive. Even in the face of a depressed economy, individuals who assume the choice of guardianship for an equine are ultimately responsible for their well-being. The ARS 13-2910 regarding Animal Cruelty clearly specifies what constitutes neglect and abuse.
ACE is committed to the prosecution of persons who commit acts of cruelty against equines in violation of existing laws. Support and partnership with the agencies responsible for enforcement and prosecution is imperative. ACE is working with multiple counties to request and participate in the investigation of suspected neglect or abuse.
As an example, horse owner and chronic offender Douglas Ray, of Cochise County, triggered huge concern among local citizens committed to ending his cycle of horse neglect. Ray, a frequent violator who has had horses seized more than once, found himself at the center of a case where outraged citizens and local equine rescue Horse'n Around pressed local and state officials to use the judicial system to once again seize equines found starving on Ray’s property. Toward that effort, ACE wrote letters to the Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff’s Department, Department of Agriculture-Livestock, and the Judge.Strong community involvement via petitions and letters to the court, convinced the presiding Judge to hear testimony on the horrific conditions of the horses owned by Ray.Choosing a guilty plea which reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor, Ray had a 60 day stay in jail, was sentenced to one year probation, along with a special provision that he not be permitted to have horses for one year.Although the outcome was disappointing in that he received a minimal sentence, this chronic offender is now aware that this type of abuse will be noticed and prosecuted. Continued community involvement with the legal system will demonstrate that this type of behavior is unacceptable anywhere in Arizona!
ACE has also worked closely with the Tucson Police Department, Mohave County, and Pima County. ACE Board members have also been called to testify in abuse/neglect cases. Once citizens become aware of how to report suspected abuse or neglect, many are willing to become involved. (See below for information on the ACE Equine Welfare Watch program.)
These are only a glimpse of the hundreds of help requests ACE has handled, and more come in daily. The need out there is huge. Above all else, ACE wants to keep responding to troubling emergencies and suffering horses, and to do this on an ever-expanding basis. BUT......we can only do that if we have sufficient funding behind us. Right now we are working on a shoestring budget, stretching it as far as we can.
A one-time donation may be made, or you may subscribe to donate on a monthly basis, giving the amount of your choice.
Remember, every single dollar goes directly to Arizona equines in need.
Your donation, small or large, will make a real difference! Consider this:
Just $20 feeds a hungry horse for five days.
$50 provides hoof care to keep a horse mobile.
And, if enough people do it, donating a simple $5 a month will guarantee this vital work will continue and grow!
(Remember, ACE has been granted nonprofit 501(c)3 status - that means all donations to ACE are now tax deductible!)
To mail a donation, send checks payable to:
9121 E. Tanque Verde Road Suite 105-183
Tucson, AZ 85749
Even if you can't afford to donate, we can still use your help! Let us know if you are interested in volunteering with the gift of your time and talent. We are currently looking for a volunteer to maintain our website and social media presence. For more volunteer ideas, visit our volunteer page by Clicking Here
Equine Welfare Watch
You will notice that many of our help requests come from citizens and neighbors who have seen starving or abused or injured horses and have no idea what to do about it or who to call.
ACE has prepared a simple easy-to-use information report form you can use to provide clear and complete information about location and condition of the horse - this is vital for a rapid response from your local law enforcement agency. Download the form via the ACE website under "Programs" Equine Welfare Watch, then print a copy to keep and carry with you if you see an equine in distress and wish to report it. This will save valuable time if the situation is life threatening. If you report by phone, call the law enforcement agency in the area where the equine is located.
Some citizens are hesitant to report suspected abuse or neglect for fear of retribution or a preference to remain anonymous. In these circumstances ACE responders will assist you in reporting the information. Call 520-749-4026 for assistance or more information. You can help prevent and stop animal abuse and neglect!
Equines in Need: Foster and Permanent Homes
As the economy continues to challenge both the nation and Arizona, many equine caregivers are forced to permanently re-home or find temporary foster care for their animals. While ACE is not equipped or intended to provide "rescue" services, efforts are being made to spread information about equines in need. If you have room in your heart and home for "just one more", please let us know!
ACE does not accept or process any requests or postings
for brokering or sales of equines. )
Visit the ACE web site for postings of horses in need under
One of the most critical health issues facing Arizona equines is the problem of ingesting sand, which interferes drastically with getting proper nutrition from food. You can be feeding your horse a full and healthy diet, only to watch him steadily lose weight and condition. Tucson veterinarian and ACE board member Dr. Michael Hutchison addresses this baffling problem.
Why would a horse eat sand?
Although I deal with horses that have accumulated sand in their colons on a daily basis this is a question not asked nearly enough. While there are several legitimate reasons why a horse would eat sand, even in the face of adequate nutrition, by far the most common is that they're hungry. Simply put, if a horse has something to eat that's better they won't eat sand. So if we can keep feed in front of them for the 18 hours a day that their hind-gut fermentation evolved for, then the problem is solved. Just think: big body - little stomach.
Obviously if they eat 18 hours a day, the food can't be too rich or they'll become overweight. This is where "roughage" comes in. They do best with bulk grass - not concentrates, which are concentrated with energy that allows them to take in their daily caloric needs in a short time. Concentrates are rich carbohydrates like grains and molasses that were rare to non-existent in the Russian steppes where our modern horse came of age.
In Tucson our primary forage is Bermuda. Some people prefer timothy but it is not as readily available and tends to be more expensive. The other primary choice in Tucson is alfalfa. While alfalfa is an excellent energy source it tends to be a little too good. In fact, while many horses might like to eat alfalfa for 18 hours a day, not many would survive, although their sand intake would be low. The point is that alfalfa tastes so good that horses will literally eat cups of sand to pick up the little leaves that have dropped on the ground. You can easily spot the horses that are fed alfalfa by the licked smooth and excavated dirt around their feeders.
But what about psyllium?
Psyllium is still the only product proven effective in removing sand from the horse's colon. However, it is so much easier to keep sand from going into your horse in the first place than getting it out once it's there! When we give the little 4 oz. scoop that comes in a psyllium container we are expecting it to remove over one hundred pounds of sand. This is more than a little optimistic. The realistic volumes of psyllium required to pull off such a feat are about four cups a day for several months. Also, the cost is quite a bit more than some extra Bermuda hay.
Sand colic is the most preventable cause of death in Tucson. Here in the desert when your horse has sand in its belly you are one bucket of water away from the sand and hay making adobe! Always provide multiple sources of water. Spend some time figuring out how to "lead your horse to water to get them to drink". It can usually be done with the right flavorings. Have your veterinarian check your horse for sand at least once yearly and review your prevention program.
Unless you have your horse on pasture, with grass, your horse lives in a field of sand.
New Board Member.....Harvey Redman, a senior animal crimes investigator for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, has joined the ACE Board of Directors. Before holding that post for the past 12 years, Redman served as a police commander in Morton Grove, Illinois, for 27 years. As a certified equine investigator, he wrote and teaches the Basic Animal Crimes course to sheriff’s deputies. This kind of training and experience will prove invaluable to ACE. A huge welcome to Mr. Redman!
"SAVING AMERICA’S HORSES....A Nation Betrayed"
This critically important film - a stunning expose of the cruelty, neglect and slaughter of America’s wild and tamed horses - is being released to theaters nationwide this month. But it needs support from all Americans to ensure that release is widespread enough to make an impact, to reveal the full truth of what is happening to this most magnificent of all species.
Please Click Here, watch a clip of the film and then join in supporting its showing.
Running an equine rescue can be incredibly rewarding, butit is also very hard work. The ACE brochure Before You Start A Horse Rescue Or Retirement Facility highlights key elements of running a rescue that are necessary to create a reputable, professional and sustainable organization. Please share this link with others and print it out to give to individuals or organizations looking to start their own rescue. Positive, informed and planned preparation builds higher service standards in this challenging venture. Click on this link ACE Brochure – ”Before You Start A Rescue” to go to the Education page on our website where you will find the brochure
Equine Rescues: Accreditation
What it does and Why
There are a multitude of caring horse advocates and over fifty equine rescues and sanctuaries located throughout Arizona. The intent is to provide a safe, caring place and a second chance for a better life. Most are non-profit 501 (c) 3 organizations that are funded by donations, and most are full at any given time.
With so many equines in need, and the economy still in dire straits, the competition for donor dollars is fierce. Donors must sometimes make difficult decisions as to where and to whom to give their donations.
The determining factors may be the rescue’s reputation, along with any accreditation recognition they have received. Rescues that have been granted Verification or Accreditation Status have the benefit of demonstrating to donors that they have achieved specific animal care standards confirmed by a site visit, and that they adhere to specific ethical and operational principles.
The Global Federal of Animal Sanctuaries was previously highlighted as an accrediting organization. (See July 5, 2012 Update) An additional accrediting organization is the American Sanctuary Association (ASA).
The intent of ASA was to provide a means to identify quality facilities in which to place homeless, abused or abandoned animals, facilitate the exchange of information among animal caregivers, and to create public awareness of the tragedy of the thousands of animals that need assistance.
ASA was founded in 1998 with two primary objectives.
· First, it is an accrediting organization that requires compliance with a variety of high quality animal care standards and housing requirements. The process of evaluation and accreditation includes a detailed application process, where organizational qualifications such as financial stability, fundraising procedures, board oversight, permits and licenses, organizational bylaws, educational materials and veterinary references are reviewed. An on site visit is also conducted with applicants to assure that the facilities and animal care merit endorsement.
ASA member sanctuaries are not allowed to breed, sell or trade animals, or use them for commercial purposes.
· Second, ASA actively assists in finding sanctuary placement for homeless, abandoned, seized and abused exotic animals, non-releasable native wild animals, farmed animals and companion animals. ASA also serves as a resource to many national, state and local animal protection organizations and individuals when help is needed with difficult to place animals.
Accredited members are also linked to an information network to share material relating to sanctuary operations, animal care and housing.
Eligible organizations are invited to apply for accreditation. Visit the ASA website by Clicking Here for complete information.
Sanctuary Criteria for ASA Accreditation
•No use of animals for any commercial activity that is exploitive in nature. Commercial activities are defined as follows:
•Allowing free roaming public access to the animals or the sanctuary.
•Using sanctuary animals for exhibition
•Using sanctuary animals for entertainment
•Buying, selling, trading or auctioning animals or their body parts
•Any other activity inconsistent with the humane care and welfare of sanctuary animals
•Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain federal non-profit tax-exempt status at all times.
•Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain all permits and licenses required under city, county, state, federal, and international laws and statutes.
•Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain individual organizational policies that will outline and provide acceptable responsibility for the lifetime care and welfare of animals in their custody, or if the animal can be rehabilitated, until they are released in the wild.
•Sanctuaries will establish and maintain an emergency plan for animal escapes, fire, flood or other catastrophes.
•Sanctuaries will provide proper veterinary care for all animals in which they are responsible.
•Sanctuaries will establish and maintain a humane euthanasia policy for animals who are severely injured, terminally ill or suffering. This program will be under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
•Accreditation and membership in ASA will be granted by the Board of Directors after approval and acceptance of the sanctuary accreditation application and a site visit from a member of ASA’s Board of Directors or other individual authorized by the Board. A nonrefundable application fee of $50.00 must accompany the application form.
•Upon acceptance, the application fee of $50.00 will be applied to the first annual membership fee of $150.00. The balance of $100.00 will be due and payable to the American Sanctuary Association at the time of acceptance. An annual fee of $150.00 will be required thereafter for membership. Membership fees are nonrefundable.
•A person with authority to act on behalf of the applicant sanctuary will complete the sanctuary accreditation application in full before any evaluation and acceptance will be considered.
•All sanctuaries accepted for membership in ASA agree to work cooperatively with other approved sanctuaries. Any problems, disagreements or grievances will be presented to the ASA Board of Directors.
•All approved sanctuaries agree not to initiate or distribute misinformation or rumors that will cause harm to another sanctuary that is affiliated with ASA.
•Additions, deletions and changes to policies may be requested by member sanctuaries through the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is authorized to add, delete, or change these policies by a majority vote.
•All member organizations agree to help recruit other new member sanctuaries.
In addition to the accreditation or verification process offered through GFAS (international) and ASA(national), equine rescues have the option to apply for registration with thestate of Arizona -Department of Agriculture, Equine Rescue Registry.
This registry lists the sanctioned Arizona equine rescues that have submitted a letter from a Veterinarian certifying that the facility is not inadequate with respect to any of the Arizona Equine Rescue Standards, and have attached a signed copy of the completed Arizona Equine Rescue Standards veterinary checklist. The standards were developed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and can be obtained by Clicking Here. A fee of $75.00 must accompany the application, and must be paid annually.
The State of Arizona Equine Rescue Registry: Sanctioned Equine Facilities
Dreamchaser Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc.
Horse’n Around Rescue Ranch and Rehabilitation
Reigning Grace Ranch
Arizona Equine Rescue Organization
Wildhorse Ranch Rescue
Journey’s End Ranch Animal Sanctuary
Luv Shack Ranch Rescue
Heart of Tucson
Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
Accredited Arizona Equine Facilities
Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary
Dreamchaser Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc.
American Sanctuary Association
Accredited Arizona Equine Facilities
Dreamchaser Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc.
Hacienda de los Milagros
Accreditation, Verification, and Sanctioning is a voluntary process initiated at the request of the equine rescue.This procedure provides the public and donors a means of determining that a facility operates under the specific standards as outlined by the evaluating agency.
A common thread is that rescue facilities do NOT breed. When deciding where to put your rescue donation dollars, it is always helpful to visit and see firsthand how the organization operates.
An exciting new venture! ACE has developed a partnership with Pima Community College and their H.E.R.D. program to bring education to equine owners and caregivers. Check out the course offerings coming this spring to Pima County!
Are you interested in improving your relationship, skills or knowledge about equines? Check out the HERD Program (Horse Education, Rider Development) at Pima Community College! Continuing Education classes for noncredit provide a chance to further your education in equines! Don't get left in the dust. Join the H.E.R.D.!
Continuing Education Pima Community College Spring 2013 Series
Saturday, January 26, 2013 1-4 pm AN 131
Spook in Place Demonstration AN 131 What to do when your horse spooks
Facilitator: Darci Litwicki
Saturday, February 9, 2013 8 am to 4 pm
Horse 101 AN 101 General aspects of horse behavior and horse care.
Facilitator: Darci Litwicki
Saturday February 16, 2013 9 am to noon
The Science of Saddling AN132 Fitting the horse for health and performance
Facilitator: Carol Grubb, M. Ed. Eclectic Equine Education
Saturday March 2, 2013 8 am to 4 pm
Horse 102 AN 102 In depth aspects of horse behavior and horse care
Facilitator: Darci Litwicki
Wednesdays, April 3-24, 2013 5-7 pm
Horse 101 AN 101 General aspects of horse behavior and horse care
Facilitator: Darci Litwicki
Saturday, April 6, 2013 9-10:30 am
Introduction to Equine Acupressure AN 127 From origins to technique.
Facilitator: Michael Hutchison, DVM
Saturday, May 4, 2013 8-11 am
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy & Learning AN 126
Experience how horses can help heal personal challenges
Facilitator: Sherry Simon-Heldt, Grief Counselor and Equine Facilitated Therapist