In ‘They Called Him Blanco’, I told the bittersweet story of Secret, my fine white Arabian that was abandoned in a SLO County field by his “carefully” selected new owner. Not every horse is as lucky as Secret; having a young girl notice him and her generous mom take him in. I’m sure we all have as many horses as we can/can’t afford! So, when we notice a potential neglect/abuse situation in our neighborhood, what do we do? That’s when the H.E.E.T is on!
HEET is your local Horse Emergency Evacuation Team, and we are familiar with their heroic evacuation efforts assisting County personnel during fires or when a horse is stuck down a ravine somewhere. Horsemanship skills are utilized to keep the animal calm in emergency situations. HEET is also the watch-keeper and hands-on facilitators of rescuing abused, abandoned, and neglected horses throughout both North and South SLO County.
Founded in 2003, this non-profit, volunteer group works hand-in-hand not only with SLO County Fire personnel and SLO County Sheriff’s Rural Department, but when humans neglect, abuse or dump horses off and leave them somewhere! Julie Monser, President of HEET, tells me this is the all-too-common ‘dump and go’ situation! When Julie’s phone rings, reporting a possible neglect or abandonment scene, the HEET is on! HEET is quick with a volunteer investigation and, if necessary, the animal is referred to SLO County Sheriff’s Rural Department. Sometimes the owner is given notice to correct the situation or the horse is removed to safety immediately to either County Animal Services, a ‘safe house’, an adoption, or to a sanctuary. (You may remain anonymous or you can be kept informed of the outcome). Yes, HEET stays busy even when we are not having fires! They are trained……and they stay prepared with monthly education.
Lucy – Before
Lucy – After
Julie Monser tells of removing 6 abused or abandoned horses in SLO County in 2013. Some were dump and go; others brutally neglected. Such was the case for emaciated Lucy (pictured) and her friends, Ricky, Ethel and Fred. (Look for their stories in the months to come).
With the current drought and hay prices, won’t you be two extra eyes for horses in trouble? This IS Secret’s legacy……we will be watching.
HEET Contact: Julie Monser
(805) 264-3422 or (805) 929-8329