South Carolina horse rescuer gets Christmas wish; flies to Nashville to care for 84 neglected horses
Cochran is a trained emergency sheltering volunteer with California-based United Animal Nations (UAN). When she learned UAN was caring for 84 horses who had been rescued from near starvation in Cannon County, Tennessee, she asked her husband to buy her a plane ticket to Nashville as her Christmas present so she could help care for them at a temporary emergency shelter. UAN’s volunteers travel to emergency shelters at their own expense, often taking vacation time from work to do so. Cochran is one of 56 UAN volunteers to help at the emergency shelter in Nashville over the last three weeks.
After arriving at the shelter on December 7, Cochran mucked and stripped stalls, brushed and fed horses, and yes, even cleaned up manure. She stayed for five days.
“It was hard work,” Cochran said. “But it is the best Christmas present I could have received.” (Watch this video to hear more about Sandy’s experience.)
The horses were removed from a Bradyville, Tennessee property on November 24 and transported to the temporary shelter at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. They were extremely emaciated and suffering from a variety of medical ailments including overgrown, infected hooves and parasite infestation. Some of the horses were so weak they would lie down and be unable to get back up without six or more people assisting them.
Cochran brought years of horse-handling experience to the Nashville shelter. She and her husband operate Aiken County Equine Service (ACES), a non-profit horse rescue organization. Her husband, who is also trained as an emergency sheltering volunteer with UAN, stayed behind to manage ACES and care for the couple’s own pets — 12 horses, 4 dogs, 3 birds and 2 cats.
Cochran said the physical and emotional condition of the horses improved during her stay and their personalities were starting to emerge.
“The horses have a little more sparkle in their eyes now,” Cochran said. “I could write a book about what I’ve gotten out this experience. The horses have gone from being neglected to stepping forward into a new life, and finding new happiness and new homes.”
UAN has more than 2,600 volunteers in the United States and Canada who are specially trained to care for animals after they are rescued from cruelty situations or displaced by natural disasters. In Nashville, UAN supported The Humane Society of the United States and the Cannon County Sherriff’s Department, which partnered to rescue the animals. Local law enforcement was alerted to the situation by citizens concerned for the health of the horses. The horses are all being transferred to established equine rescue organizations for further rehabilitation, foster care and adoption.
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 www.uan.org.