Charleston, WV - The Senate passed the Equine Rescue Facilities Act today, aimed at preventing the abuse of horses by organizations created to protect them.
Senate Bill 75, lead sponsored by Senate Majority Leader John Unger II (D-Berkeley), requires nonprofit equine rescue facilities to obtain licenses from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. It also requires county commissioners or humane officers to conduct twice annual inspections of those facilities.
More than 50 horses were seized from Hidden Meadows Equine Rescue in Berkeley County in 2010 after a neighbor filed an animal abuse complaint. Hidden Meadows’ mission was to provide a sanctuary for unwanted horses, but police found that the animals were underfed and malnourished and there was no water on the premises.
“The abuse at Hidden Meadows was tragic, but it was not an isolated incident,” said Senator Unger. “We hope this bill will ensure such mistreatment of horses never happens in West Virginia again.”
Senate Bill 75 also requires the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture to propose standards of care for equine rescue facilities’ animals and properties. The legislation was sent to the House of Delegates upon passage.