Willie Nelson serves on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Horses, and has also rescued many horses, that now live on his Texas ranch. Habitat for Horses is the largest all-breed equine protection organization in the United States. A nonprofit registered in Texas, Habitat for Horses assist law enforcement with education and investigation of equine abuse and neglect, and offers rehabilitation and adoption to over 300 horses each year through its network of foster homes. For more information, contact Habitat for Horses at (866) 434-5737 or visit www.habitatforhorses.org
OnFebruary 23, 2010, Jason Meduna was sentenced on 145 counts of felony animal cruelty charges and placed behind bars. One week later, six of the survivors from the 3-Strikes killing fields were finally placed in their forever homes at the ranch of country music icon Willie Nelson.
For the past 11 months, volunteers and staff of Habitat for Horses have been daily tending to the needs of six wild horses wrenched from the clutches of convicted animal abuser Jason Meduna.
“Equine rehabilitation is a difficult and delicate operation, especially with horses that were as far gone as these guys were.” stated Jerry Finch founder and President of Habitat for Horses during a recent interview. “These horses responded well and continue to flourish with each passing day.”
Jerry was the lead investigator into the 3-Strikes disaster last April. It was Mr. Finch who hired a plane and along with the local Sheriff flew over Meduna’s parched and overgrazed land to witness a sight that will be difficult for both of them to shake.
One of the rehabilitated mustangs that made the trip to Willie’s ranch from Habitat for Horses was a black and white spotted mustang named Voodoo. Jerry refers to him as the “last horse standing”.
“As we flew over the sand hills I looked down to see a singular horse, standing on a bluff that over looked a pile of bodies and that horse was looking straight up at us. Horses don’t usually look up but this one not only looked at us but he looked right through me. It was unnerving but he motivated me to act. He almost didn’t make it into the trailer to safety he was so bad off.” Jerry remembers, “We had a connection and that’s why it was so very special to let him out of the trailer at Willie’s knowing that he will be able to live out his life as he was meant to, wild and free”
Willie Nelson sits on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Horses and has, to date, adopted 71 horses that run free and enjoy just being horses on his spacious ranch outside of Austin, Texas.
Willie’s herd is well cared for by a knowledgeable staff of professionals who have also rehabilitated abused and neglected horses that have come directly from a Habitat for Horses rescue operation. Willie and his daughter Amy are outspoken advocates for the cessation of horse slaughter in the U.S. and the end to the Bureau of Land Management’s managed extinction of America’s wild horses on public lands.
Amy Nelson, with a rescued horse.