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York County horse rescue struggles to stay on the saddle through inflation

Between persistent pandemic problems and increasing inflation, rescues are having a harder time staying financially stable.

YORK, Pa. — Omega Horse Rescue in Peach Bottom Township is in dire straits.

“COVID and the economy have hit us really hard here at the rescue with funding," Director Kelly Smith said. "And we are now into our savings.”

Since the onset of the pandemic donations and the number of volunteers have dwindled.

“People are struggling to help us through donations because their costs are going up," Omega Barn Manager Samantha Raffensberger said. "They don't even have $5 or $10 extra anymore to help us.”

The organization rescues horses and additional animals from slaughter, abandonment, and other situations, then rehabbing them back to health. Losing donations as the dollar loses horsepower against rising costs has stalled their ability to help.

“That makes it harder for us to be able to go and help the horses, because we're putting more into the rehabilitation for the ones that we have," Raffensberger said.

It’s an issue impacting horse rescues nationwide. Beth Kokoruda of Travelers Rest Farm Sanctuary in Maryland has already taken measures into her own hands

“I've shut down my intake program," Kokoruda said. "I'm no longer able to take on more horses at this point.”

Kokoruda had to take the reins on funding her rescue by giving money out of her own pocket.

“I've taken on a second job," Kokoruda said. "Whatever we can do at this point to just feed the horses and cover expenses is what I've been trying to do.”

With uncertainty on if things will get better, Omega is leaning on community aid.

“It's really hard," Raffensberger said. "Day-to-day everything changes.”

“We really need [the public's] support in order for us to continue our mission of helping animals in need," Smith said.

There are multiple ways you can help, including donating money or volunteering. 

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