In 2012 when Tricia Terry started Starry Skies Horse Sanctuary, she had no idea how many lives she would affect, human and equine. Now, after literally hundreds of horses have come and gone through her horse rescue program, she is in need of help to keep the sanctuary going.
This past January, after Lenawee County resident Sharon Kay Evans was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, twenty-eight of the thirty-two horses she had were sent to Starry Skies. The Lenawee County Sheriff ‘s Office received an anonymous complaint about Evans at the end of December, at which time they removed some animals. They returned on January 3, with enough help from Animal Control and the Lenawee County Humane Society to remove the remaining animals.
Of those twenty-eight, ten were pregnant mares. Without places like Starry Skies for abused horses to go to, not only would those horses have remained in Evans’ care, but she would not have been charged. In the case of large scale removals it can be difficult and at times impossible to find places that are capable of taking in so many animals. If they cannot be removed from a property, then the law states that the abuser cannot be charged with abuse. This is why it is so important to Terry to keep her sanctuary going. Without sanctuaries such as these, the abuse would simply continue.
While most horses are eventually adopted out to loving homes, some sadly, are not. Take the case of Chevy, a four-year old horse who has a condition called DSLD, or Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis. It is a disease of the connective tissue, and as such, Chevy will live out the rest of his days at Starry Skies. Pearl, who is blind, will also remain there, being treated with love and kindness from the staff she has come to know and trust.
The sanctuary, which costs approximately $12,000 per month to run, gets about twenty percent of its funding from donations. “There is a real need for monetary donations,” stated Bridget Long, a three- year volunteer and owner of two horses that came from Starry Skies. Her parents have adopted four horses as well. “We have some fund-raisers throughout the year, like our Tack Sales and breakfasts and other miscellaneous sales, and we can always use donations of grain, hay and tack, but we really need more donations of money to help with operating costs each month.”
While local veterinarians do volunteer their time, most of the horses that come to Starry Skies need medical care of some sort or another, which usually translates to costly medication and bandaging. All donations are tax deductible as Starry Skies is a 501 (C) 3 Corporation. However, they receive no state or federal funding; the sanctuary is run strictly on donations.
The importance of what Tricia Terry and her group of approximately twenty volunteers do was summed up best by Bridget when she said, “Yes, it’s true, we save horses here. But in reality, these horses have saved my life so many times that I can’t begin to repay them.”