The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has announced it will open a new 1,120-acre horse sanctuary and rescue facility in Douglas County, Ore. The facility marks the organization’s fourth major animal-care facility. The Duchess Sanctuary, the facility’s new name, is made possible thanks to a $3.5 million donation from the Roberts Foundation, the Ark Watch Foundation and its founder, Celine Myers. Named in honor of the first horse owned by Celine Myers’ family and after Black Beauty’s mother in Anna Sewell’s famous story, The Duchess Sanctuary will be a sister facility to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch located in Murchison, Texas, a 1,300-acre ranch operated by the HSUS and The Fund for Animals.
The Duchess Sanctuary, located south of Eugene, consists of diverse terrain of forest and pasture, and will be managed for horses and for the native wildlife that live on the property.
The first Duchess Sanctuary residents, many of which were saved from the PMU (pregnant mare urine) industry, will come from The Ark Watch Foundation. In a press statement, the HSUS did not specify when the first horses will arrive at the Duchess Sanctuary.
“These former PMU mares and many other abused horses will find a safe haven at the sanctuary,” says Katherine Liscomb, vice president for direct care operations for the HSUS. “Our goal is to adopt policies to protect horses and to promote personal responsibility for the care of horses so that animals do not come in to a distressed circumstance in the first place. But where that occurs, we will have capacity to help these creatures and provide them a home.”
The HSUS operates an Equine Protection department from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to the horse sanctuaries in Oregon and Texas, the HSUS works at the state and federal level to promote policies to protect horses from slaughter, soring and racing-industry abuses. Recently, the HSUS published a guide to humane horse care, and is in the second year of a wild horse contraception program funded by the Annenberg Foundation, in tandem with the Bureau of Land Management. The HSUS is working with partners at the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the Homes for Horses Coalition to develop standards of accreditation for equine rescue facilities.
Scott Beckstead will serve as director of operations for the Duchess Sanctuary and Jennifer Kunz will serve as ranch manager. Former Mayor of Waldport, Ore., Beckstead is a nationally renowned expert in the field of animal law and has run a foster care network and sanctuary for horses. Jennifer Kunz has spent the past decade working to rescue horses in need, facilitating the placement of more than 1,000 PMU mares and foals. For the past three-and-a-half years, Kunz managed Knightsbridge Farm Draft Horse Sanctuary in Alberta, Canada.
At the Duchess Sanctuary and the Black Beauty Ranch, the HSUS will care for hundreds of horses, burros and other equines rescued from abuse, homelessness or other dire circumstances. The group also operates two wildlife centers in Cape Cod, Mass., and San Diego, Calif., where injured and orphaned wildlife receive round-the-clock medical care. Collectively, these facilities make the HSUS and its family of organizations one of the largest providers of animal care in the nation.