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Recruiting Foster Homes for Neglected, Abused, Abandoned and Stray Horses

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Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society
Jennifer L. Williams, PhD
(888) 542-5163
P.O. Box 632
College Station
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Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (BEHS) proposes to expand its network of foster homes to provide housing and rehabilitation for neglected, abused and abandoned horses and other equine animals through an advertising and outreach program. The increased number of foster homes will facilitate the efforts of BEHS to collaborate with law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to help horses and other equine animals in need.
This grant will benefit communities across Texas by allowing Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (BEHS) to take in neglected, abused, and abandoned horses and other equine animals at no cost to counties. Seizing, rehabilitating and placing horses with adopters can be very costly, so this program would mitigate the financial burden on the county while providing quality care to horses in need.
Proposal Description
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (BEHS) is an equine welfare organization that coordinates with animal control officers, police departments and sheriff’s departments across the state of Texas to help abused, neglected and abandoned horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. BEHS receives and investigates reports of neglect and abuse and works with law enforcement officers to educate owners on proper horse care and to remove horses and other equine animals from negligent or abusive owners. Additionally, the organization takes in and cares for abandoned and estray horses and other equine animals. Due to the faltering economy and the severe drought affecting much of Texas, incidents of neglect and abandonment have increased. BEHS houses all of its horses and other equine animals in foster homes, and the rescue’s ability to accept new horses depends on available foster space. Several of BEHS’ foster homes have significantly reduced the number of horses they can foster, necessitating the recruitment of new foster homes to help rehabilitate and house the horses and other equines until adopters can be located. The goal of this grant is to launch an awareness and advertising campaign to locate new foster homes in Texas. This will benefit the horses by getting them into safe homes where they can receive proper care to help them recover from starvation, neglect or abuse. It also benefits communities across Texas by relieving the financial burden of seizing neglected horses, housing these animals and attempting to place them in adoptive homes. Many counties struggle to help horses and other equine animals and rely on rescues for assistance. When rescues like Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society do not have space to take in horses, the cost of housing them creates a huge financial burden on the county, causing budget shortfalls and leaving the county reluctant or unable to seize horses in the future. In some circumstances, those horses are not removed from negligent homes and continue to suffer. In order to recruit new foster homes, BEHS must reach horse owners and enthusiasts across the state of Texas. Money from this grant will allow the organization to reach out to potential foster homes through advertisements in horse publications, radio commercials, billboards, newspaper and mailers in rural communities. Using money from the grant, BEHS will place posters or flyers in horse feed stores and veterinary offices and hold informational booths at county fairs and horse events. The organization will also research additional means of advertising and outreach. In addition to the money awarded from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation, Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society will contribute $5,000.00 to this program to hire a temporary administrative assistant to help research advertising and awareness-building options, correspond with newspapers, magazines, radio stations, billboard companies and other advertising outlets, research and reserve booth space at events, place ads, and perform other administrative duties related to foster home recruitment. BEHS has already secured donated ad design by a professional graphics artist and booths will be manned by Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society volunteers. Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society will track the effectiveness of this program by asking callers and those who submit email inquiries about fostering where they heard about the organization and its need for new foster homes. The rescue’s fostering application also includes an area for new foster homes to indicate where they learned about the rescue. This will allow BEHS to determine which advertising methods are most effective at recruiting new foster homes and concentrate additional advertising efforts on those avenues. BEHS will continue advertising with the methods that are most successful in recruiting new foster homes past the termination of the grant. BEHS will also track the number of horses coming into the rescue and the number of law enforcement agencies and communities the rescue is able to help within the next year and compare those numbers to statistics from previous years to further illustrate how this grant has helped communities.