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Las Cruces legislators support horse rescue fund

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State Rep. Nathan Small and state Sen. Carrie Hamblen, both Las Cruces Democrats, are among those providing financial support for homeless, abused horses.

The groups Animal Protection New Mexico (APNM) and Animal Protection Voters (APV) announced the dispersal of $153,000 in “critical state financial support for homeless and abused horses, donkeys and mules, through the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund (HSRF)” in a Jan. 13 news release.

Ten state-licensed equine shelters serve the entire state by housing hundreds of equines, animals who were surrendered when their families fell on hard times, along with stray, abandoned and abused equines transferred from the New Mexico Livestock Board, the two groups said.

“These shelters’ work saves animals’ lives, keeps communities safer and provides a service for local and state governments, all without any regular government funding, almost solely supported by donors and volunteers,” the news release said.

The pandemic, the ongoing drought and the dramatic rise in hay prices have had a devastating impact on New Mexico’s state-licensed horse shelters, the groups said.

Most of this supporting funds came from a line item included in Senate Bill 377 (the "junior budget”) during the 2021 State legislative session, thanks to support from Small, Hamblen and state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos. Each legislator committed $50,000 toward HSRF, resulting in a $150,000 total appropriation for equines. The remaining amount distributed from the HSRF came from voluntary tax return check-off donations.

“I am humbled by the work the nine horse shelters that received funding provide,” Hamblen said. “They not only help these dignified creatures live a healthy and nurturing life, but also the healing they naturally provide in therapeutic environments. It’s the least we could do for them given all they give in return.”

In 2013, APV spearheaded the creation of HSRF, a mechanism for horse shelters to receive state funding for their crucial work.

APNM’s mission is to advocate the rights of animals by effecting systemic change, resulting in the humane treatment of all animals. For more than 40 years, APNM has planned, implemented and succeeded with dynamic programs, projects, services and collaborations that span a broad spectrum of animal protection issues.

Founded in 2002, APV is the leading legislative and political advocacy organization for animal protection in New Mexico. Powered by grassroots supporters, its mission is to actively promote and support animal-friendly legislation at the state, federal and local levels; build an effective political voice for animal advocacy in New Mexico; and hold New Mexico’s elected officials accountable on animal issues.

Visit www.apnm.org and follow APNM on Facebook @animalprotectionnm, Instagram @animalprotectionnewmexico, Twitter @apnm and YouTube @apnm; and www.apvnm.org, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.