On Monday an animal welfare case will be heard in Alto concerning three neglected horses, a mare, her 4 month old colt and a stallion. They are the latest horse rescues of Patricia Bauer, the founder of the East Texas Horse-Rescue and Sanctuary. The filly was bred at a dangerously young age. She's still growing herself and so malnourished she provides little nourishment for her baby. The stallion has open sores. Bauer rescued all three from a sand lot in Cherokee County. The animals were confined for weeks with no food or water.
"When I see horses that are eating dirt and eating sticks and real, real skinny and neglected that really hurts, but it makes me feel good when I see them come back to health and really enjoy seeing them to go to new homes," said Bauer as she stroked a rescued equine's neck.
The former equine rescue volunteer saw a need for a agency readily available to hurt and neglected horses. Local involvement has made a difference. Two years and 72 rescued horses later Bauer stays extremely busy. Bauer laughs, "I never have a weekend off and I can never go on vacation because it's 24-7 feeding and taking care of these horses."
Members help out by fostering seized horses. Connie Perryman is fostering the stallion. Adoption fees help pay for feed. If money runs short she digs into her own pocket. "I buy my feed first and what's left I buy groceries with. I've been in rescues now for 14 years and I wouldn't trade any of it."
The stories are much the same. Previous owners want a horse, but can't take care of it. An increasing number are secretly staking their horses on abandoned lots. Sometimes the horse's destiny is decided before Bauer's involvement. Bauer refers to a horse seized in Nacogdoches County. "She lived 21 days and died here. She was just gone way too far before she got any help." But these horse lovers don't give up. Bauer isn't sure why she does it other than, "It's just something I feel like I need to do. The horses can't speak for themselves. They can't take care of their self. They're loyal to people.