In 2000, Kathleen Schurman and her husband, David, purchased 15 acres in Bethany, Connecticut, (in two parcels of land) and began to rescue animals from slaughter, neglect and abuse situations. Over the years we have saved hundreds of horses, dozens of sheep, goats, hens, roosters (many from the cock fights), dogs, cats, veal calves and more. Long before the world went wild over Esther the Wonder Pig, Locket’s Meadow farm had Ozzie Osboar, who weighed about 400 pounds and followed Kathleen everywhere.
We began saving PMU foals in 2002, rescued from the Premarin industry, and eventually welcomed horses from other slaughter, abuse and neglect situations. Over the years hundreds of horses have passed through our farm on their way to adoptive homes. Some have stayed and become lesson horses in our programs while others are used for therapy, both mounted and on the ground. Some are unable to work and we offer them retirement, and give the equivalent of Hospice care when the time comes. All are loved as members of our family, as are all the other animals on our farm, from pigs and sheep to goats.
While other rescues fundraise and solicit donations (we do have a 501(c) 3 that we have not relied on for more than a few small donations each year), Kathleen and David opted to fund the work themselves, putting every penny they earned into the animals and the farm. At any given time, we have between 100 and 150 rescues on the property, many of them special needs, and the cost of hay and feed alone is $10,000 a month. Vet bills, farriers and other necessities add up to nearly another $10,000, and that doesn’t include the mortgages.
Those animals that can work are trained to do very important jobs. The farm has offered riding for special needs individuals at a nominal price, and many autistic and Downs syndrome adults have learned to ride independently on incredibly gentle horses, all of which came to the farm as throwaway or slaughter animals. Kathleen has offered programs for adolescent girls who suffered from bullying (at no cost to those who couldn’t afford it, which is most of the participants). Working with Kathleen’s very special horse, Captain, the girls learned how to stand up for themselves and regain their confidence and self-esteem.
Over the years, dozens of groups of special needs children have visited the farm and taken pony rides on the enormous Ernie, a Shire who was one of the first horses saved from the horse meat industry as a 9-month old colt in 2002 . These animals that were rescued from the worst situations now give back to whomever needs them, with patience and love.
Thanks so much to Fox 61 for their story about us.
Thank you, New Haven Register, for doing two pieces, as well. We are so grateful!