Pet Connections

scea article

Second Chance Equine Association (SCEA) is a non-profit organization in Westmoreland County. It was founded in 2006 when Westmoreland County Humane Police Officer (HPO) Elaine Gower and horse owners Bryce and Chris LeJeune recognized two problems. First, complaints of neglect and abuse of horses in the area were increasing at an alarming rate. Second, when HPOs faced a case of horse abuse or neglect they struggled to find places willing to accept the animals. After many phone calls to experienced horse owners, HPOs and equine professionals, SCEA had its first organizational meeting at a small restaurant in Latrobe on April 1, 2006.  Attended by a dozen horse enthusiasts, the ground work was laid to embark on our mission.

Our mission includes rescue, rehabilitation, and relocation of abused and neglected equine. The first step, rescue, starts with a humane police officer (HPO) or other law enforcement personnel recognizing a case of neglect/abuse. The HPO then obtains a search and seizure warrant. At the scene of the neglect/abuse case the HPO seizes the horse and turns custody over to SCEA and then we transport the horse(s) to our quarantine barn.

The second step, rehabilitation, begins with the horses being evaluated immediately by a veterinarian and any life threatening issues are addressed. The horses are placed on a diet that meets their nutritional needs. Soon after, the horse’s teeth are examined and parasite medication is administered. Within a few days of intake at the quarantine barn, the horse’s hooves are evaluated and trimmed by a hoof care professional.

The next stage of the rehabilitation addresses the emotional needs of the horse. Abused horses may have emotional scarring which manifests itself in unacceptable behavior. The bad behavior makes the horse unsafe to humans and is stressful to the horse itself. Neglected horses often have bad ground manners that make them unsafe to handle. We begin to retrain these horses with gentling exercises meant to develop trust in, and respect for, humans.

The third step, relocation, is accomplished by fostering prior to the horse’s ownership being permanently transferred to SCEA by the court. Once SCEA has legal ownership of the horse and it is fully rehabilitated, the horse is offered for adoption. Criteria for adoption includes an application by the potential adopter, verification by SCEA that the applicant has proper shelter and facilities, a background check for past history of animal abuse, and an evaluation of personal compatibility between the horse and potential adopter.

To prevent problems as well as promote proper and safe interaction between human and horse we offer educational seminars and provide hand-on horse training clinics to the public. Seminar subjects vary from equine first aid, dental care, and feeding to barn winterization, farm insurance and bit selection. We also publish training videos online.

Our membership program is vital to our continued success. $25 per year is all it takes to become a member and gain access to all of our educational programs and a network of horsemen and women who have decades and decades of experience that they are willing to share.

SCEA has accomplished a great deal in the past 10 years. We are governed by an eight member board of directors and have nearly three hundred members. More than 140 horses have been rehabilitated and placed in good homes.  We have leased a farm with a quarantine barn. Improvements and planning are ongoing. We are always looking for new members who love horses and want to work with the rescues. We also need members who are interested in fundraising, building and ground maintenance, and transporting hay.

SCEA gladly accepts monetary, hay, and feed donations. We are a 501(c)(3) organization so donations are tax deductible. Come visit us on our webpage – scearescue.com or like us on Facebook – just search for SCEArescue.

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