BENTON CITY, WA - Suzanne Thomas rescues slaughter-bound horses from Washington feedlots and rehabs them.
She started her horse rescue shelter, Sugar Shack Horses, a year ago. She named her place "Sugar Shack" after the third horse she rescued: Sugar.
"I was trying to think of a name for my place because I wanted to start a page and it was perfect," says Thomas. "It's the Sugar Shack because they come here for love and to rehabilitate."
Thomas hosts about 8 horses on her property at a time. She goes to a local feedlot, finds horses that attach to her and then buys them. Thomas says it takes months to rehab a lot of them.
"They aren't just physically abused; many are mentally abused too," she said. "It takes months."
Thomas started her rescue efforts with a just a few horses and gradually brought in more when she learned the sad truth that many are found abused at these feedlots.
"I was naive about it," Thomas said.
She tells us that she didn't know most of the horses at feedlots get sold and shipped to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered and eaten. Feedlots are given horses that have been auctioned off or ones that people no longer want to take care.
Thomas decided to fill that gap and started visiting a feedlot here in Washington. She currently has ten horses on her property.
"I try not to rescue more than what I can afford, because it's not cheap to get into."
She says it takes money, time and a long process to get these horses ready and healthy for adoption. Once she has treated them for worms, feeds them well, taken care of by a veterinarian and trained she then puts them up for adoption.
"I create a sales contract and it says that once they adopt them the owner can't auction off this horse or take them to a feed lot," Thomas said.
Thomas hopes to continue her service in Eastern Washington and one day have more land where she can continue doing what she loves.
You can check out her organization here: https://www.facebook.com/sugarshackhorses/