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‘The nightmare’s not over’: sanctuary that fought to save horses in floods now deals with the aftermath

By Emma Stenhouse

The owners of an equine sanctuary who battled to save their horses as severe flooding devastated southern Spain have warned that “the nightmare isn’t over yet”.

Sue and Rod Weeding were fighting to save the 120 equines who live at Easy Care Rescue Centre, Alicante, as their fields flooded in last week’s storms.

The pair were working 24 hours a day, pumping the water from their land. And although all their animals were saved, they now face an influx of new rescue cases and a shortage of forage.

“We were out there in the worst of the weather… the lightning, the torrential rain, the thunder, and the hurricane. It was me and Rod: a 64-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man doing it on our own,” Sue told H&H.

The pumps are still running, as the Feedings prepare to face the aftermath of the storm.

“As it was, we were constantly being called out to work with the police, because they’re trying to seize mistreated animals and put them in our custody,” Sue said. “Since the flooding, we’re anticipating more rescue cases.

“Also, there’s going to be a real shortage of any forage because the alfalfa that’s grown here has been flooded and ruined.”

Sue said the alfalfa and hay supply in the area was already looking low, but now many fields have been flooded, the situation is critical.

“Without forage, many owners will simply just stop feeding their animals,” she said. “Some will be tied up and abandoned. If the police are called for starvation cases, they will often bring the animals to us.”

Sue added that the contractor from whom the centre buys forage said once the supply in his warehouse runs out, there will be no more alfalfa until spring.

With 120 hungry mouths to feed, Sue says it is vital the centre finds a reliable source of forage immediately, adding that the plan is to import from the UK.

She has arranged for a shipment of Allen and Page Fast Fibre, which can be used as a hay replacer, to be delivered directly from the mill in the UK, at a reduced price, and is now desperately trying to raise funds to meet the €6,000 (£5,300) cost.

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“This feed will help get our horses through this awful ordeal, and keep them well fed and happy,” Sue said, adding that the centre is also looking for quality hay, but that this will be hard to find as northern Spain suffered a drought this summer.

She said: “It costs about €6,000 per week to run the centre, and we get no funding from the authorities. Our horse trailer was recently stolen, which we used to collect abandoned horses, as well as transporting wood shavings and other large items.

“The biggest help possible is donations, as we rely on the kindness of humans to keep helping our wonderful rescues. My heart goes out to everyone who’s struggling to keep their animals alive after this huge disaster. There have been so many heroes fighting to save the animals.”

The centre accepts donations via its website.

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