Dolly the Horse Finds a Home in East Burke

Dolly ThumbnailEAST BURKE- The Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary is a place where rescued animals who were orphaned and neglected come to receive rehabilitation and the ability to live a healthy and happy life.

Michelle Berry, the manager of the sanctuary, says they are responsible for the animal's care for the rest of their life, which is a commitment they take very seriously. "A lot of the animals we get here are not adoptable candidates... they're either too old or have physical or psychological limitations. They usually stay here living a healthy and happy life." There have been few animals that have been adopted out, and in those cases the animals were younger.

 Last week, the sanctuary rescued a new furry friend named Dolly. She is a Quarter Horse, which is a common American breed. Dolly came to the farm after they were contacted by local law enforcement and another horse rescue organization. They were told that there was a farm in Vermont who had a case of neglect and had surrendered 6 horses among a larger group of horses. All of the horses surrendered were older. "Dolly was the worst, and nobody really wanted her because she can't be ridden and she's older and people were put off because she only has one eye. Aesthetically they didn't find it pleasing and she was kind of left at the end."

But the sanctuary opened their hearts to her, even if taking her in was a financial cost. Dolly was very thin, her hooves hadn't been taken care of for a period of time, and it isn't known when she was last seen by a veterinarian before coming to the sanctuary. Berry says, "we knew that taking Dolly in was going to be a big financial commitment and she needed a lot of physical help. So, we knew that we were going to need to raise some funds in order to help support her initial cost just to get the ball rolling."

So, the sanctuary started a fundraiser through social media to help. The community came together to support Dolly's financial needs, and within five days they raised $600 dollars. Berry says they had a lot of support and that people were taken by Dolly's story and that her gentle great spirit is what makes people want to support her.

As much as Dolly has been given support, Berry says most of the local community doesn't know the animal sanctuary exists. "It's been a little bit of a challenge, especially raising funds, because as a non-profit we rely a lot on individual donations." The sanctuary has been expanding their volunteer reach in order to educate the public about what goes into caring for animals. Berry says it usually ends up being a support to those who get involved because it can be therapeutic. The sanctuary has created a sponsorship program where people can sponsor an individual animal like Dolly who will be in rehabilitation for a long time.

But even a week later, Dolly is already getting better and is getting closer to living a happy healthy life.

And it's not just a new animal on the farm; the Vermont State Senate passed a bill yesterday relating to animal cruelty. The bill relates to limiting liability for animal shelters and rescue organizations assisting law enforcement in animal cruelty investigations. The bill states that an organization should make every effort to collect the name and address of the person transferring the animal, name of the animal, its vaccination history, and past behavior.

It also states that any organization that provides care to an animal involved in an investigation shall not be held for civil damages unless the actions of the shelter or organization constitutes as gross negligence. Berry is in favor of the bill and hopes it will get passed by the House of Representatives and Governor Phil Scott. "I think that's a great thing because there's non-profits that do the full extent of what they can do and unfortunately there's some that aren't so upheld. And I think that's a good way to get a balance between the two."