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

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The District of Tofino is cycling through new electric bike regulations in an effort to prevent the rapidly growing industry from putting Multi-Use Path users and beachgoers at risk. (Nora O’Malley photo)
POLL: Would you support more restrictions on electric bikes in your community?

E-Bikes under consideration as path being built between Tofino and Ucluelet

Tofino’s affordable housing project at District Lot 114 took another step forward last week thanks to a $3.8 million grant. (tofinohousingcorp.ca)
Tofino scores $3.8M for affordable housing project

Tofino Housing Corproation and Catalyst Community Developments secure funding

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

A 58-year-old B.C. woman says she was attacked by a deer while out walking her dog last week. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Deer attack in southeastern B.C. leaves woman cut, battered and bruised

Liz Royer says she was out for a run last week when the deer appeared out of a bush and charged

Most Read