EUGENE — A horse sanctuary in western Oregon might close down by March unless it can secure financial support, its owners said.
David Kelly and his wife, Jane, started the Oregon Horse Rescue on their farm outside Eugene about five years ago and have been supporting the operation mostly by themselves.
The couple pay about 90 percent of the sanctuary’s operating costs but cannot continue to provide that level of support, David Kelly said.
Donations cover 10 percent of operating costs now, but they want donations to cover 75 percent. The couple set the beginning of March as the deadline to decide if they will close.
The nonprofit has about 40 horses in its care and about a dozen up for adoption. Others who are sick, blind or unfit for riding are permanent residents.
“A lot of ours are older,” Kelly said. “They might not be ridable any more, but they are great, and deserve years of a loving, caring home.”
Caring for the unwanted horses cost the organization $330,000 in 2016, according to its annual filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
The money was used for supplies such as hay and grain, veterinary care and to pay employees, excluding the couple, who do not draw wages.
There is a big need for horse rescues in the southern Willamette Valley, said Sandy Huey, who operates a smaller horse rescue in the Eugene area.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” she said.
Horse rescues hope to receive enough donations to stay afloat, but Huey said it’s not uncommon for operators to pay out of their own pockets.