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"A great horse will change your life. A truly special one defines it".

Author Unknown

Euthanasia Policy

Elite Equine Rescue (EER) operates as an equine rescue and rehabilitation facility, serving as a resource for animal protection authorities in Colorado and the surrounding states. Every impounded horse that arrives at EER is seen by a Vet tech within 24 hours and by a veterinarian veterinarian within 72 hours; during this visit, ERR staff work with the veterinarian to identify the most critical issues each horse is facing and develop a custom care and treatment plan. It is EER’s ultimate goal to rehabilitate and re-home each horse.

With a rehabilitative success rate of 98%, most horses in EER’s care make a full recovery. Once each horse has regained its health, the horse is evaluated by EER’s professional training staff to determine its suitability for exercise and riding. Based on this evaluation, each horse begins a custom training program to help advance the horse’s skills as an equine partner with the goal of finding a suitable forever home. EER takes pride in having placed 94% of its horses in loving homes.

In some rare cases – such as dangerous temperament or chronic and severe pain conditions – adoption is not a suitable option for the horse and EER may consider humanely euthanizing the animal. Elite Equine Rescue does not employ euthanasia as a method of population control.

There are several circumstances in which EER may consider euthanasia as a humane and responsible choice. Among the most common of these are:

Incurable or progressive disease

Incurable or transmissible disease

Chronic or severe lameness

Inoperable colic

Foals born with serious defects

Severe debilitation in old age

Severe traumatic injury

Dangerous behavioral traits

Undue suffering for any reason

Euthanasia is often a highly emotional issue, yet it is important to address the situation from a practical standpoint. In all cases – whether dealing with an emergency situation, chronic pain condition, or a long-term illness – EER staff consult with a team of veterinarians, reviewing any medical information to fully understand the horse’s current condition and future implications as well as discussing available treatment and care management options.

EER considers following questions with the veterinarian before determining a course of action:

Is the horse suffering?

How long will the horse experience the current level of pain or debility?

Is the horse’s condition chronic or incurable?

Does the immediate condition suggest a hopeless prognosis for life?

Is the horse a hazard to itself or its handlers?

Does the horse continue to show an interest and desire to live, or has it become depressed or despondent?

What kind of special care will the horse require, and can EER or an adopter meet its needs?

Can EER continue to provide for the horse financially?

What are the alternatives?

Choosing whether, or when, to end a beloved animal’s life is not a decision EER takes lightly; the decision to euthanize, or induce a painless death, is never made without careful consideration.

Sometimes the most responsible part of rescue is making the difficult decision on behalf of the animal and giving one last gift... The gift of mercy. 

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