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New Hope For Unwanted Horses


The Kentucky Equine Humane Center’s mission is to provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse to seek adoptive homes for all of Kentucky’s unwanted horses, regardless of breed. The center also is committed to educate the public and raise awareness for responsible equine ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis. Its goal is to work with and serve as a model for organizations with the same mission in other states: to save America’s horses from needless destruction.


The KEHC is a non-profit organization and is in the process of applying for 501 (c) (3) status. Donations are tax-deductible and should be sent to The KEHC Fund at The Blue Grass Community Foundation, 250 West Main Street, Suite 1220, Lexington, KY, 40507.


Founding members are Kim Zito, Joan Ciampi, Meg Jewett, Dr. Stuart Brown, DVM; Dr. Tom Daugherty, DVM; Carol Farmer; Staci Hancock, Judy McCarron, Lori Neagle, and Sally Spielvogel.


The need

According to Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield's office, more than 90,000 American horses were slaughtered in this country last year by three foreign-owned plants for human consumption overseas.  In addition, some 35,000 more were exported for slaughter abroad. In recent years, diverse organizations and groups have made strides in rescuing horses from the slaughterhouse, often retraining them or adopting them out for successful second careers or simply as pasture companions. But the need is still great. Now, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center proposes to establish a first-of-its-kind equine shelter, much like animal shelters operated by local humane societies, in the heart of the horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.


The Plan

1        The KEHC currently is seeking to lease a 50- to 60-acre farm in the Lexington area for its shelter facility, which would accept all equines in the state of Kentucky—including donkeys and mules—provided they have a valid negative Coggins.

2        There will be no fee for surrendering a horse, donkey, or mule to the KEHC, but donations will be encouraged and are greatly appreciated.

3        No horse will be turned down for any reason, except lack of a valid negative Coggins.

4        KEHC will work closely with other rescue, retraining, and adoption organizations; breed associations; and other equine organizations to help find adoptive homes for Kentucky horses before humane euthanasia is considered.

5        KEHC will work to promote responsible ownership practices among current and prospective owners and breeders with the goal of reducing the number of unwanted horses in Kentucky while providing a humane alternative to slaughter.


“There are no such facilities that we are aware of in this country where you can bring your horses when you can no longer keep them,” said Lori Neagle, a co-founder of the ReRun retirement and retraining organization and also a KEHC board member. “Not only will the KEHC benefit the horses, but it will help many caring people who have unfortunate life circumstances that prevent them from keeping their horses and who have to give those horses up. When KEHC opens its doors, no Kentucky resident will be able to say he sent a horse to slaughter because he had no other choice.”


Our Supporters

“Horses are our partners in business, in sport, and even as companions. It is our responsibility as owners and breeders to take care of our horses. We can not breed them and raise them, name them and coddle them, cheer them and celebrate them, only to turn our backs on them. Each of us must be responsible for our horse. He depends on us.

First, we need to support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act now on the floor of Congress to stop the butchering of our horses once and for all. Then we must work together to develop centers like the KEHC as a safe place and a second chance for every horse.”

                                    Staci Hancock, owner and breeder, Stone Farm (Paris, Ky.)


“I’m very happy that some nice people have taken the initiative to have a horse shelter. Horses are like people: they need to be protected, not left to be treated like garbage. I applaud these wonderful people for this idea, and I applaud the people who make a difference in the horse world.”

                                    Nick Zito, Hall of Fame trainer


“There are not an adequate number of adoption and rescue programs in operation to handle the countless Thoroughbreds that are leaving racetracks with uncertain futures. ReRun embraces the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and feels strongly that it is a necessary step towards addressing this issue. As executive director of ReRun, I believe this is an avenue for heartfelt non-profit programs with limited space, resources and funding to turn to for assistance.”

Susan M. Swart

Executive director, ReRun, Inc.


“The horse capital of the world is Kentucky, and we as horsemen and horsewomen in Kentucky should be leading the fight for the protection and adoption of all breeds of horses and not just Thoroughbreds. The KEHC is the first step in that fight.”

                                    Tom Daugherty, DVM


“As a leading co-sponsor of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, I am so pleased with the establishment of the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Currently, many horses in the U.S. are sent to slaughter when they outlive their financial or sporting value. By creating a center dedicated to the rescue and humane treatment of horses, the KEHC will provide a needed alternative to the horrors of slaughter. Horses are part of our American heritage, and we should do all we can to provide them with the care and protection they deserve.”

                                    Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky



For more information, contact:
Lori Neagle

(859) 865-1342 or

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