UAN brings special experience in emergency sheltering to help animals from one of the largest equine rescues in West Virginia

(May 28, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN) has deployed volunteers from six states and one Canadian province to Mason County, West Virginia to care for 49 neglected horses, mules and donkeys rescued from a property in WayneCounty on May 27.

The animals were seized by the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter, with assistance from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), due to poor health and signs of neglect. It was one of the largest equine rescues in West Virginia history. Rescuers are removing all of the horses, donkeys and mules from the property and transporting them to a temporary shelter in MasonCounty where UAN’s volunteers will care for them.

EARS volunteer Nova Keaton of Oak Harbor, Ohio gets Clifford “the Big Red Mule” to take some hay at the temporary shelter in Mason County, West Virginia.   

Distinguished by their red shirts, UAN volunteers are specially trained to care for animals at temporary shelters after they have been rescued from cruelty and neglect situations or displaced by natural disasters. The UAN volunteer team is currently at the temporary shelter, filling stalls with sawdust, unloading hay and performing other tasks in preparation for the animals’ arrival.

“Our volunteers were more than willing to take time away from their jobs and their families when they learned animals in West Virginia need their help,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies, who traveled from California to manage the UAN volunteer team. “We look forward to using our special skills in emergency sheltering to help these horses, mules and donkeys transition to a better life.”

Volunteers have already come from Indiana,Maryland,Ohio,North Carolina,Virginia,Wisconsin and Ontario,Canada to staff the temporary shelter. More than 25 UAN volunteers are expected to travel to MasonCounty between now and June 15. UAN has 3,000 trained, active volunteers in the United States and Canada, including 4 in West Virginia.

Concerned local citizens shocked by the condition of the equines complained to the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter and the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The HSUS was called in to act as the lead animal welfare organization in the case and called United Animal Nations to provide sheltering support.

When rescuers arrived on the property in WayneCounty, they found Tennessee Walking Horses, Saddle horse crosses, mules and donkeys. Many of the animals were extremely emaciated and suffering from a variety of medical ailments including overgrown, infected hooves, parasite infestation and untreated wounds. Once the horses reach the shelter they will be checked by a team of veterinarians and given any necessary immediate medical care. The horses will be cared for at the shelter by The HSUS and UAN until their custody is determined.

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at


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