Saddles, bridles, hay needed
Pointing toward a long fence across the barn yard, Delores Hanser, owner of Paws Ranch Equine Rescue, believes that is where suspects entered her property Sunday night.
Before departing, the suspects took more than $12,000 in saddles, bridles, tack and grooming tools and left the barn doors open causing havoc in the pastures due to the excessive rain.
When the barn gate was left open at 10 p.m. Sunday horses ran into the front pasture and stomped on a drain, clogging it and causing the entire front portion of the property to flood.
Hanser said the area received about six inches of rain on Sunday and the loose horses caused a muddy mess.
The barn also flooded causing a significant loss of hay and now there is a desperate need for it.
"With the rain this year, we were already short of hay and we need hay," she said.
Hanser said 12 volunteers arrived at the property on Christmas Day to help scatter hay and clean up part of the mess.
But the loss of the saddles and other riding equipment has put therapeutic riding for the at-risk children on hold.
There is also a volunteer program at Paws Ranch where students receive hours for McNair scholarships and other volunteers do community service hours at the ranch.
Until saddles and other riding equipment are donated or purchased,all riding programs are on hold.
"Without saddles we can't ride," Hanser said.
Only two old saddles were left untouched by the thieves.
Hanser said although her husband has a security camera on the property it was raining so hard there is not a good picture of the suspects.
When the suspects left the barn gate open, horses also got into the feed storage room and ate about $500 in stored feed.
"This could have killed them," she said.
There are 41 horses at the ranch with at least 20 ready for adoption and hopefully they will be adopted soon.
Horses are rescued from across the state and adjoining states.
To donate or find out how to get involved visit Paws Ranch website at: www.pawsranch.org or visit them on Facebook.
Monetary donations donated to BB&T Paws Ranch Equine Rescue acct. or sent to PRERI PO Box 338 Bostic, NC
In-kind donations for tack, feed or hay can be dropped off at Paws Ranch Equine Rescue at 330 Walls Church Road in Bostic or 800-580-6504 or 828-447-5899.
All donations are tax deductible and the public can check out the charity on GuideStar.org, GreatNonprofits, Charity Navigator and or IRS Determination letter and IRS.gov.