BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

To say Lacey was in rough shape when she was rescued from a Surrey property five years ago would be an understatement.

The blue-eyed palomino paint yearling was gaunt, with skinny limbs, overgrown hooves and a fear of everything, even a blanket.

Fortunately, to say she’s doing alright these days is also an understatement.

“She looks amazing now, it’s hard to believe that it’s the same pony,” said Lacey’s ‘mom,’ Kathy Gilleran.

“She’s the most loving and affectionate and trusting pony you could imagine. That’s kind of what blew my mind with her.”

Lacey was among nearly five dozen animals that were seized by the SPCA during a cruelty investigation in August of 2015.

READ MORE: 57 animals seized in ‘disgusting’ case of neglect

Unfortunately, the seizure was not the first that the BC SPCA has dealt with involving horses, nor was it the last. Most recently, 27 horses were among nearly 100 animals seized by cruelty-investigation officers in late September from a farm near Princeton.

In each case, extensive – and expensive – efforts are taken to treat, rehabilitate and rehome all of them.

And while for some, the story does not have a happy ending despite best efforts, many others, matched with the love and attention every creature deserves, go on to thrive.

It is these stories of hope, perseverance and survival that inspired Kamloops photographer Leanne Peniuk to do what she could to help.

Peniuk began a quest last spring to capture the “happily-ever-after stories” for a book that would be sold to raise funds for the BC SPCA’s equine division.

“Every horse is given a second chance and I just kind of wanted to showcase that and tell their stories,” Peniuk said.

Rescue Me – published in November – is a coffee-table-style book that shares the stories of 25 horses, including Lacey, that have been rescued by the BC SPCA and successfully rehomed.

The goal, said Peniuk, is threefold, including inspiring people to consider adopting or fostering a rescue horse.

“And if one person drives by a field and sees horses that maybe don’t have water, food or shelter, or maybe don’t look the best … they take action and place a phone call to the SPCA, then it serves its purpose.”

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Every year, the BC SPCA seizes between 50 and 100 horses from unhealthy situations, and in her five years as manager of the BC SPCA’s equine division, Leiki Salumets has seen it all.

Salumets remembers that Lacey was a recent arrival when she started at the society’s Good Shepherd barn in Surrey that August.

Knowing how far Lacey has come offsets the heartache side of the job, she said.

Salumets’ personal experience with a rescue horse is also shared in Rescue Me. That horse, she said, “taught me kind of the most.”

“She’s a big part of the reason I do what I do.”

Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Proceeds from the sale of Rescue Me are earmarked to support the care and rehabilitation of the Princeton rescues.

Typically, the BC SPCA relies “heavily” on donor support to provide the care such animals need, said Salumets, describing the effort behind Rescue Me as “just incredible.”

Publisher Jill Veitch – who grew up in South Surrey but now calls Kelowna home – described it as “heartwarming.”

Veitch said she learned of Peniuk’s quest through social media, and “instantly” messaged Peniuk, “because I have (a rescue horse) and it’s been an absolute life-changer for my family.”

The foreword in Rescue Me is written by self-described rescuer, horseman and philosopher Kevan Garecki.

The book also include insights from Salumets and a prominent foster caregiver, as well as some information on the process that surrounds an SPCA seizure.

Peniuk said even though the book is finished, there is another chapter yet to come.

“Next year, I want to work… on horses saving humans,” she said.

For more information or to order Rescue Me ($55) visit www.leannepeniukphotography.ca/rescue-me



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCSPCASurreywhite rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Man found tangled in barbed wire on trail near UBC Okanagan

Man’s friend claims he’d been drinking when he went missing Monday afternoon

Pixabay.
Non-stop flights between Ottawa and Kelowna to be offered this summer

One-way flights start as low as $59 with taxes and fees included

Taxes are going up slightly for homeowners in 2021 to give businesses a break. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Tax shifts burden from Vernon businesses to homeowners

New rate for residential 2.67 per cent or $42 for average home

City of Armstrong community services manager and chief bylaw officer Warren Smith stands with the new food waste bin and garbage cart to be delivered to eligible residents later this month. (Brooke Hovey photo)
Armstrong changes waste collection system

Residents to be given new bins as part of the new system which goes into effect May 1

By 2050, May will feel more like August, according to Vernon’s Action Climate Plan. The plan says we will have twice as many days above 30 degrees Celsius each summer. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon takes action against climate change

First action plan an important step: Mayor

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Air Canada cancelled service to and from Penticton Jan. 11, 2021. After receving $5.9 billion in federal aid the airline is now set to renew service on the route in June, 2021. (Mark Brett - Western News file)
Air Canada flights set to return to the South Okanagan

Federal aid could have the Vancouver/Penticton route back to pre-pandemic service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

By 2050, May will feel more like August, according to Vernon’s Action Climate Plan. The plan says we will have twice as many days above 30 degrees Celsius each summer. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon takes action against climate change

First action plan an important step: Mayor

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
100+ international travellers who landed in B.C. refused to quarantine

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it issued $3,000 violation tickets to each

A bin of Pinot Gris grapes harvested in the north Willamette Valley rests before being crushed at Ponzi Vineyards. The pomace and lees from these grapes would normally go to waste, but Okanagan-based company Winecrush is changing that. (Photo courtesy of Ponzi Vineyards)
An Okanagan company is crushing wine-making’s sustainability goals

Program utilizes derivatives from the winemaking process, rather than letting them go to waste

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

Most Read