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     Sandhills Horse Rescue is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization located in the sandhills region of North Carolina, the heart of horse country.  The purposes for which SHR was formed is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home neglected and abused equines (all-breeds), as well as promote and encourage humane treatment of and the health and welfare of equines, and conduct activities which educate equine owners, animal control officers, law enforcement agencies, and other equine welfare organizations relating to the humane treatment of and health and welfare of equines in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

     We are dedicated to equine welfare through the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of neglected and abused equines (all-breeds), as well as the education of equine owners, animal control officers, law enforcement agencies, and other equine welfare organizations. 

SHR’s objectives are to:

a)      promote and encourage the public to stop equine neglect and abuse,

b)     assist law enforcement and animal control agencies with seizures of equines only if the  agency files a Petition for Bond / Forfeiture (pursuant to NCGS 19A-70) within 10 days of the seizure requesting the bond include all expenses incurred and anticipated for care for the initial 30-day period then resubmit the petition including expenses incurred and anticipated for each 30-day period thereafter,

c)      educate the public on proper equine management and standards of care,

d)     educate law enforcement and animal control agencies on equine cruelty investigations, safe handling and management practices, equine transportation, and rehabilitation,

e)      offer help to equine owners in times of natural disaster when able,

f)      rehabilitating neglected and abused equines,

g)     rehoming equines that have been accepted into the rescue once documented in writing as being medically cleared for adoption by a licensed veterinarian,

h)     providing a means of humane euthanasia for those equines that are suffering, cannot be saved due to current medical or physical condition as documented by a licensed equine veterinarian, or quality of life would be questionable at best based on current medical, physical, or mental condition after thorough evaluation by a licensed equine veterinarian and/or equine behavior subject matter expert.


     Our professionalism, knowledge, experience, and resourcefulness are the foundation of our working relationships with local animal control departments, national animal welfare organizations, and law enforcement agencies.  


     Our goal is to help those that cannot help themselves by providing rehabilitation, retraining, medical treatments and a second chance at life or by alleviating an equine’s suffering upon evaluation and recommendation of our advisory veterinarian, by humane euthanasia when every other reasonable option has been exhausted or quality of life is questionable after recovery.  


     Sandhills Horse Rescue is dedicated to the local community therefore, does not rescue from slaughter, out of state, or private owners unless exigent circumstances warrant otherwise.  There are so many equines in need locally, that it is Sandhills Horse Rescues policy to put forth all donations and available resources to help the equines “next door”. 


     Across the nation, equine rescue organizations have different policies and opinions on what “equine rescue” encompasses, what classifies an equine as “in need of rescue”, and what “making the right decision for the equine” truly means.  There are hundreds of equines in our proverbial “own backyard” that are being truly neglected and/or abused and are in need of rescue and rehabilitation or euthanasia.  There are thousands of owners that are just “tired of taking care of their equines”, “can’t afford medical treatment for chronic conditions”, or just “don’t want their equines anymore” who would love to have a rescue offer to take “their problem” off their hands.  The animal cruelty laws in North Carolina are not as strong as they could be and financial support at county level for many animal services agencies is limited.  The law allows for several options as “remedies” or “resolutions” when someone faces animal cruelty charges or are under investigation.  A few of those may be to comply with the recommendations for care and improve the overall condition of the equine, sell the equine, take the equine to an auction, give the equine away, and even kill the equine which is acceptable if done humanely.  When the owner refuses to remedy or resolve the issue, Animal Control and Law Enforcement accepts the daunting task of removing the equine from the situation and taking care, custody, and control of the equine.  Many agencies can not properly support and care for surrendered or seized equines, especially those requiring critical care and around-the-clock monitoring, due to lack of space, adequate shelter, and knowledge on how to rehabilitate an emaciated equine safely.  SHR takes pride in being able to assist North Carolina’s Animals Services and Law Enforcement Agencies with equines that require temporary fostering, critical care or consistent rehabilitation, or permanent placement.  Based on the numbers of calls we receive, if we accepted all the equines that someone just didn’t want to care for or own anymore, we wouldn’t have the space or financial means to help those who truly need our help and wouldn’t get any support otherwise.      


     Sandhills Horse Rescue will only accept equines, of any breed, that are victims of neglect and/or abuse and are located within the State of North Carolina, preferably in the Sandhills Region or counties surrounding the county of the principal office.  The decision to receive an equine into the rescue program must be voted on by the Board of Directors and receive majority approval before the equine is accepted.  Intake of equines surrendered by owners will only be considered if extenuating circumstances exist or if the equine(s) is/are at immediate risk of death due to starvation, medical complications, or pre-existing injuries and not due to owner or other party threat of harm or death.  The Board of Directors will consider each potential intake on a case by case basis to determine if the circumstances under which the equine(s) is/are being surrendered meet the criteria and the owner of the equine(s) must complete and sign an ownership transfer agreement.  Intake of equines seized by Animal Control / Animal Services departments, law enforcement agencies, and recognized animal welfare organizations will be considered by the Board of Directors if a “Petition for Bond” is obtained through the criminal justice system, reimbursement for expenses is granted to SHR only if financial compensation is awarded to the county or there is a monthly bond paid by the owner, and an “Equine Seizure Assistance Agreement” is completed and signed by all parties having authority over the equine.  Sandhills Horse Rescue will not purchase any equines from auction, kill-buyer, feed lot, or private sale, unless there are extenuating circumstances and the equine is suffering or in grave condition and the only remedy to end suffering is euthanasia.  The purchase of an equine for the purpose of rescue under these conditions must be agreed upon by majority vote of the Board of Directors. 


     SHR abides by extensive and detailed By-Laws which have been approved by the Board of Directors. 

Board of Directors
Tori McLeod, Executive Director
Justin McLeod, President
(Open), Vice President
Kelli Kwapnioski, Secretary
(Open), Treasurer
Dr. Emma Poole, Board Member

Advisory Board
Lisa Kivett DVM MS DACVIM - Foundation Equine Clinic, Advisory Veterinarian
Chad Holmes CJF, Advisory Farrier