Aiken Equine Rescue helps animals other than horses

November 20, 2018

Providing unwanted horses with a refuge is Aiken Equine Rescue’s main mission, but the nonprofit is involved in additional initiatives that benefit other animals in need.

On Monday, the Bloodhound Tracking Team that serves Aiken County received several thousand pounds of dog food from the organization.

Lt. Chad Hyler of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said he was grateful for the gift because “there are always budget constraints, so we rely on donations throughout the year to help offset our costs. We want to make sure that our dogs have the best care possible.”

The team includes a dozen officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken and North Augusta departments of public safety. There also are 18 dogs, all of which are bloodhound/bluetick coonhound/redbone coonhound mixes.

“Any human being that needs to be tracked, our dogs are trained to do so,” Hyler said.

They often are used to locate subjects fleeing from crime scenes, but the dogs also help find children and senior citizens who wander away from their homes.

“They don’t just track the bad guys,” Hyler said.

Aiken Equine Rescue is in the process of distributing 80,000 pounds of dog and cat food that it recently received from GreaterGood.org, a charity that is based in the state of Washington.

According to GreaterGood.org, the charity “is devoted to improving the health and well-being of people, pets and our planet.”

Aiken Equine Rescue worked with GreaterGood.org and other groups during a series of hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last year and in Florida and the Carolinas this year.

In 2017, after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Aiken Equine Rescue coordinated the distribution of $180,000 worth of hay, feed and other supplies for horses along with 53,000 pounds of pet products.

This year, in the wakes of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Aiken Equine Rescue coordinated the distribution of $110,000 worth of feed, hay and other horse supplies.

Aiken Equine Rescue’s president and operating director, Jim Rhodes, said he recently asked GreaterGood.org for dog and cat food that Aiken Equine Rescue could distribute mainly in the CSRA because “many small animals end up in our area after hurricanes.” He also thought dogs used by first responders would be worthy recipients of the food.

In addition to the Bloodhound Tracking Team, others that have received the food so far include the Humane Society of McCormick County, Molly’s Militia, Palmetto Animal Welfare Services, Team Stinkykiss and the Barnwell County Animal Shelter Foundation.

Rhodes said the Aiken County Animal Shelter also is scheduled to get some of the food.

In addition, GreaterGood.org sent Aiken Equine Rescue more than 30 pallets of a veterinary product used for fluid and electrolyte replenishment in horses.

Horses treated for colic or other problems at the Performance Equine Vets clinic in Aiken will receive 20 liters of the product for free, Rhodes said.

For more information about Aiken Equine Rescue, visit aikenequinerescue.org or call 803-643-1850.

For more information about Performance Equine Vets, visit performancequinevets.com or call 803-641-0644.

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