FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Since the Shadarobah Horse Rescue started back in 2008, it’s saved more than 200 horses. A recent certification makes the rescue more eligible for additional funding, but the folks there said they need public support to find that money.
Michelle Heitz started the rescue more than five years ago and says funding has always been an issue.
“Funding for this place has always been a huge issue because when you have this many horses, it’s extremely expensive in hay and grain and vet bills,” said Heitz.
That’s something she and other volunteers are hoping to change thanks to a new business title. After four years of trying and several setbacks, the rescue is officially a 501(c)(3), or a tax-exempt non-profit. Heitz said the title will allow them to write and receive grants. That’s where the community’s support is needed most.
“We’re hoping that people might want to help us with some grant writing and some other funding that may now be available to us,” said Heitz
Heitz says everyone who works at the rescue is a volunteer, and it takes around $10,000 a month just to maintain the rescue’s basic needs.
“Basically, for the last five plus years, we’ve been operating on a shoe string and a prayer. The need continues to grow faster than we can keep up. It takes a lot of time to take care of 41 horses. If we had 20 people here 16 hours a day, we would not run out of stuff to do,” said Heitz.
41 horses call the rescue home, and for the majority, it’s more than just food and shelter.
“Many times, if we don’t take them, it’s death for these horses. So, when it’s life and death, we make room.,” said Heitz.
Ed Sampson rescued his horse Bela about a year ago. He owns a fiberglass company in Mishawaka, and wants to use his business expertise to help the rescue.
“I think this horse rescue is the best kept secret in the area. So, I’m going to do as much as I can do to help with any organization that they may need,” said Sampson.
Sampson said people with any expertise in non-profits are encouraged to help out, but anyone can be volunteer their time and services.
“This rescue can use help in all forms and manners. It takes a lot of resources to keep something like this with 40 horses running,” said Sampson.
If folks are interested in making a donation, Sampson wants to assure them the money is going to the right place.
“I think a lot of people sometimes are not sure if they should donate to different charities because they’re not really sure if the revenue really goes where it’s needed and I can tell you personally that 100% of the donations go in to taking care of these horses, ” said Sampson.
In addition to rescuing dozens of horses every year, the barn also offers a number of services to the community.
“We also do a lot of educating. We teach people how to be first-time pet owners. We do a lot of programs with children that have varying degrees of difficulties,” said Heitz.
If someone would like to get involved with the Shadarobah Horse Rescue, the contact information is listed below, as well as on their website.
Shadarobah Horse Rescue
10113 Goshen Road
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46818