Union County horse rescue in danger of closing

Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A horse sanctuary in Union County is on hard times.

They’ve been on a farm, saving animals for more than a decade, but now are being forced to move. The problem is, there’s nowhere to go and time’s running out.

They’re on a rented farm, it doesn’t actually belong to them.

Now the owner wants to move back.

The group says they have just a couple of months before the deadline, and nobody is sure what’s going to happen.

“This is my life. This is my path,” said Darlene Kindle, owner of the horse sanctuary.

Kindle’s heart is with animals.

The downtrodden, the abused, the unwanted, the discarded.

Her main love is for horses, many of which wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for a very special place in Union County.

“Six, seven years ago we counted, and it was well over 300,” Kindle said.

Kindle rescues to find new homes for them. One of those horses that came to the Carolina Equine Rescue and Assistance Center was Hope - an emaciated and malnourished horse.

Today, she’s the picture of health.

“When I get a call from an official to ask me to take in an animal, that animal is my responsibility,” said Kindle.

And the pandemic hasn’t helped the situation.

“With COVID, so many people have come across financial problems,” Kindle said. “They just can’t afford their horses anymore.”

Kindle’s sunk every last penny into the farm - savings, social security, everything.

“The animals are first,” Kindle said.

But now, this animal haven is in very real danger of slipping away.

The rescue has been leasing the farm for more than a dozen years, but now the owner wants to move back.

So the center has until July to pack up and move out.

“It’s just hard knowing that they’re going to have to pack up and relocate everything,” said Emily Hiller, a volunteer at the center.

It’s hitting the volunteer staff hard.

However, this place isn’t about giving up and throwing in the towel. It’s always been about second chances.

“Darlene doesn’t give up,” said Samantha Cody, who volunteers and has faith for better days. “She will reach to every end of the Earth to make sure these animals will never go without again.”

The next steps are hard ones.

There’s a GoFundMe account, but with only a few thousand dollars in it, it’s coming up short.

Kindle hopes somebody will reach out and donate a space so that the horses she loves so dearly, will have a respite from the storm.

“I guess miracles do happen, I’m hoping for a miracle,” Kindle said.

If you’d like to help, you can reach out to the rescue via their Facebook page. You can also find the link for the GoFundMe account here.

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