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December 20, 2011

How Doris Went from Neglect to a Loving Family

We estimate that there are 20,000 animal protection organizations in the country—offering care, services, or advocacy for just about every kind of animal out there. It’s a remarkable army of staff and volunteers seeking to help animals in crisis and call people to a higher level of responsibility in their dealings with other creatures. And no matter what the focus of any particular individual or group, we are all part of the same fundamental enterprise.

Doris with her new family
Doris with her new family
photo: Jacques Favre/The HSUS

While there are perhaps 600 horse sanctuaries and rescue organizations throughout the nation, there are very few groups working at the national level to protect horses and to prevent cruelty to them. That’s why we formed an Equine Protection department at The HSUS several years ago. To add to it, we have just formed an Equine Leadership Council, with Georgina Bloomberg as chair. We are taking on the issues of horse slaughter for human consumption, the soring of Tennessee Walking horses, the mismanagement of wild horses and burros, and a range of other equine welfare problems.

But we also do anti-cruelty work on the ground for horses. It’s been just a little more than a year since The HSUS joined with law enforcement and local groups to rescue 43 severely neglected horses in East Texas. It was a heartbreaking scene—many of the animals were seriously underweight with overgrown hooves and parasite infestations, and it was too late to save some animals.

Then this spring, I told you how well these horses were recovering after several months of food, water, and care, and that we were continuing to care for five of them at our new Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, in Murchison, Texas. One palomino horse who had been nearly skin and bones was among these five. She had begun to fill out and her coat had regained its shine after a few months, but she still needed training and one-on-one attention to fully recover.

We named her Doris, after the tireless animal advocate and the center’s namesake, and when she was ready, we began looking for her permanent home. A family with children who adore her adopted Doris a few months ago. Now you can see her journey in our latest year-end video. Please take a look and if you can, support our work to rescue more animals like Doris who still need our help.

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