Kitchener resident travels to rural West Virginia to care for 49 rescued equines
PITCHENER, ON (June 2) — Not many people would use vacation time to drive nine hours to a remote location in West Virginia and spend four days hauling hay, laying sawdust, building stalls and corrals, shoveling manure and caring for some very needy animals. Even fewer would do it at their own expense; but that is exactly what Ronda Fraser of
EARS volunteer Ronda Fraser of Kitchener, Ontario feeds some hay to a rescued mule in West Virginia.
Ronda, a broadband team lead for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in
Dressed in khaki pants, work boots, a red UAN t-shirt and a wide-brimmed hat and covered in sawdust, hay and dirt, Ronda joked that her coworkers and friends wouldn’t recognize her in her UAN “uniform.” The work to set up the temporary shelter was very physical, as was feeding and handling animals who had likely been forced to fight for food for years. But Fraser said it was well worth the pain to see the animals get the care they deserved.
“I am so happy I could contribute something to this rescue and I hope to be able to assist on more cases in the future,” Fraser said. “Animals in crisis need someone to advocate for them, and that’s what we UAN volunteers do.”
The horses, mules and donkeys were found in horrible condition on a property in Wayne County, West Virginia. Many were extremely emaciated and suffering from a variety of medical ailments including overgrown, infected hooves, parasite infestation and untreated wounds. Concerned local citizens, shocked by the condition of the equines, had complained to the Cabell-Wayne Animal shelter and the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was called in to act as the lead animal welfare organization in the case and called UAN to provide sheltering support, a core competency of the organization.
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. UAN has 3,000 trained, active volunteers in
Fraser was inspired to become a UAN volunteer after meeting two volunteers at an animal crisis seminar at the
Fraser also volunteers as one of three certified pet detectives in
“Ronda really illustrates the diverse skills that our volunteers bring to the table,” said Janell Matthies, UAN Emergency Services Manager. “But she also epitomizes the common characteristics of the UAN volunteer — hardworking, efficient, flexible, and willing to do whatever is needed to ensure the safety and comfort of the animals.”
- Please support our work in West Virginia by donating to our Disaster Relief Fund.
- Read more about this emergency sheltering effort and see photos on our Emergency Response Blog.
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.