Apr 8, 2011 5:59 PM by Erin Schermele (KPAX News)
HAMILTON- In 2008 the Hamilton community was outraged by two Georgia men that tragically abused their horses in the bitterroot wilderness. Hamilton resident, Theresa Manzella decided to do something about it.
"It is hard on me to see any animal suffer, in any degree," Manzella says." When we confine an animal to a pen then they are completely and totally dependent on us for food and water."
Manzella created Willing Servants in 2008 to to take a proactive approach on criminal animal neglect. Their free service includes a website that allows people an opportunity to find homes for horses they can no longer care for.
"We are in an era right now with the economy and the closing of the horse harvesting houses that horses don't have a lot of value right now, so people are really wanting to relinquish custody of them."
Two months ago Manzella received 4 malnourished horses from mineral county. The man bought the horses from a breeder for $10 each to save them from harvest, but he soon found out he didn't have the financial means for proper care. It quickly turned into a criminal neglect situation and Manzella stepped in to help.
"These horses weren't terribly bad off yet, they rehabbed quite quickly and that's part of our mission. To prevent them from getting into a situation where they are seriously neglected. It costs twice as much to rehab a horse as it does to maintain one."
Now that the horses are healthy, Manzella needs to find them a family. On Sunday April 10th, there will be a benefit auction to raise money for willing servants, and hopefully find healthy homes for these horses. Manzella says the adoption process is the best part of her job.
"When we can take what could have been a tragedy or a crisis and turn it into a happy ending, it warms my heart and is very satisfying."
Willing servants has re-homed 80 horses so far. The benefit auction is Sunday April 10th at 11:00 am. It will be held at the RLP auction house, which is on the East side of highway 93, South of Victor.