Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary (SHELS) partners with the Animal Rescue Corp based out of Washington, DC serving equine and livestock cases. When Animal Rescue Corp received a complaint from an informant, SHELS was asked to assist with an undercover investigation which revealed six horses, twelve dogs and a cat living in appalling conditions. A criminal neglect case was filed against the owner and all animals were seized from the property. Among the animals seized and taken into the care of SHELS was a pure Arabian Mare by the name of Lavena.

At the time of her rescue, Lavena’s overall condition was so poor she was barely able to stand. Volunteers were able to load her into a trailer for travel, only to have her collapse during transport to SHELS. Once at the sanctuary, Lavena was blanketed and taken to a stall to keep her warm. She was also given free choice grass, hey, water and limited quantities of alfalfa per the recommendation of the SHELS’ Veterinarian. Despite all the extra care Lavena was receiving, she collapsed again eight days after rescue and an emergency vet was called out to the sanctuary. The vet provided Lavena with a glucose IV drip which gave her the strength to stand again. Once stable enough for transport, Lavena was taken to the Veterinary Hospital for inpatient care. 

With the help of a Medical Emergency Grant from ISF, Lavena stayed at the hospital for five days and was treated with IV fluids to help self-regulate her body temperature and stand un-assisted. Despite all she has been through, Lavena is gentle and mild mannered. Sariah, with SHELS wrote ISF during this time, “Even in her emaciated state the sun catches her coat and she is stunningly beautiful. She has caught the attention of thousands of people. Because she is in such a weakened state we don't know yet how spirited she will be when she feels well.  Right now she is infinitely happy to be clean, blanketed and have food. We do know she was a ride-able horse from photos we have seen of her that were at least two years old, so her potential once she is well again is limitless.”

Once healthy enough to return to the sanctuary, Lavena gained a substantial amount of weight and received special shoeing to correct damage to her hooves. Three months later, a bright eyed and alert Lavena was declared healthy enough to be put up for adoption. Sariah wrote ISF, “Lavena is a fighter, and has worked hard at her own recovery and has been a very willing horse in the recovery process.  We are extremely grateful to ISF for your assistance in Lavena's recovery.”

Lavena was placed in a foster home with a family including three girls under the age of twelve.  The eldest daughter had a special connection with Lavena early on and had been the one to name her Lavena upon intake.  As Lavena became healthier, the girl asked her parents if their family could adopt her. With her great demeanor and ability to ride well with the girls, her parents agreed. SHELS told ISF, “She has the perfect home, and is adored by her family.” Further stating, “To those that want to say that rescues are "broken", Lavena can be a beacon and show that it is the people that harm animals that are broken, and the animals just need compassion to return to their glory.”




Written by Veronica Hampton