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IE horse rescue operation in danger of being shut down

August 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A horse rescue operation is suddenly in need of its own savior. Devastated by rising feed costs, True Innocents Equine Rescue in Riverside is in danger of being shut down.

It's hard to imagine, but once upon a time, Breez was a national prize show horse. Not long ago, the 8-year-old came to Gail Gleeson's True Innocents Equine Rescue near death.

"She was in dire straits. She's been here a month ... she's looking a lot better, but it's going to take a long time," Gleeson said.

It's time Gleeson doesn't have. On Aug. 29, her property will be sold at auction as a foreclosure. Like so many other people in the Inland Empire, Gleeson said she lost her job and fell behind on payments.

Gleeson says she had been working with her bank on a mortgage modification. Now, she is scrambling to save her rescue operation.

"I am trying to find some way to stop the auction, save what we're doing, so we can continue helping our community and horses," Gleeson said.

But the future of the 31 horses and three donkeys remains uncertain. Gleeson says she is also struggling to provide for her animals as the price of feed continues to increase. A few years ago, her hay storage would have been stacked to the roof. Today, it sits nearly empty.

"We used to buy by the truckload, and we can't afford to do it anymore. We're buying twice a week as donations allow, the economy has hit our donors too," Gleeson said.

Gleeson is able to care for the horses and donkeys with a handful of volunteers. She estimates her non-profit has helped an estimated 800 horses since she began her rescue in 1998.

"This was supposed to be the last stop. Each one that has come in here, I said, 'You are going home and you're safe,' and I broke my promise, I broke my promise and I think that is the worst part of it," Gleeson said.

For information about helping True Innocents Equine Rescue, visit http://tierrescue.org/.