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Galloping to the Rescue

LINN COUNTY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Over the last 20 years, the number of horses owned in the United States has increased by a third. That means that some of those animals live on overcrowded farms and are neglected or outright abused. But a group of people in Linn County are working to nurse those abused horses back to health.

The Iowa Equine Rescue and Awareness League say the problem starts with Iowa laws that classify horses as livestock. That might have been more accurate in the middle of the last century but now, horses are more likely companion pet, but the law doesnt protect them that way.

"We just go in and just check on basics, if they have food and if they have water, said the Iowa Equine Rescue and Awareness League President Karla Sibert. That's the only thing you can really nail them on."

That means the level of neglect has to be extreme before anyone steps in.

"Horses are considered property, said Sibert. Everybody in the state of Iowa is allowed to own property. So it's very hard to remove property from someone."

When local law enforcement does remove horses from a location, Karlas group provides the care needed. Thats what happened with Dale Martinsons adopted horse, Grace.

"It is a great pleasure to know that people want something that someone threw away basically, said Martinson.

Under Martinsons care, Grace has thrives. Shes not only healthy but has also won a handful of ribbons.

"There has been so many offers to buy her and I will never ever give her up, said Martinson.

Including the Adult Open Awards Show Program for the Iowa Quarter Horse Association.

"So she won herself a nice little belt-buckle for that. I like to say it's my belt-buckle but in all honesty, it's her's, said Martinson.

Without Karla and Dales help, its better not to think about what might have happened to Grace. But for all theyve done for her, she returns the favor.

"There is nothing bigger that makes me burst with pride when someone comes up to me and admires her and I can say she was a rescue horse, said Martinson.

Sibert and Martinson say its important to keep the location of the horses a secret since the former owners might try to steal the horses back.
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