Equine rescue group formed in Polk County

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2008

&dquo;There is a growing need throughout the United States for large animal emergency rescue units,&dquo; said Dr. Anne Baskett, DVM with Tryon Equine Hospital. &dquo;There are several already established in North and South Carolina and throughout the nation and we are in real need of this service because of the numerous equestrian events that are held here year round.&dquo;

In addition to providing large animal emergency transport services, PEER will also educate the public regarding equine and large animal first aid as well as safe transportation methods. The organization will work in emergencies with local fire fighters, EMS emergency and disaster personnel.

PEER rescue volunteers are all certified large animal rescuers and the majority are emergency medical service and firefighter personnel. Isothermal Community College has provided the use of their facility for PEER certification courses.

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The organization is establishing a communication program through the 911 system and a rotational, &dquo;on call&dquo; list for veterinarians to assist with every emergency rescue.

&dquo;We are so grateful for the support that we have already received from the local equestrian community,&dquo; commented Judith Donlan, president of PEER. &dquo;Several organizations are helping us by donating part of the proceeds from horse shows, horse trials and hunter pace events. And we are fortunate to have a very active and committed board of directors.&dquo;

Serving on the PEER board of directors are: Judith Donlan – president, Dee Black ‐ vice president, Arthur Bourbeau – secretary, David Carmichael ‐ treasurer, Alan Bridge – chief of rescue operations, Sheila Grymes and Peter Shanahan.

&dquo;There are an extraordinary number of equine events that take place over the course of a year in Polk County and the surrounding area. Safety for the horse&bsp;and rider is always the top concern,&dquo; said Charles Lingerfelt, president of the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club. &dquo;The PEER Board of Directors and volunteers are to be commended for taking on such a critical role and providing a much needed service for our community.&dquo;

The organization says its critical needs are the donation of a horse trailer and truck that will be customized to accommodate the rescue equipment.

Anyone interested in&bsp; making a donation to PEER or obtaining additional information should contact Judith Donlan at 828-894-6524 or by e-mail at foxfield@alltel.net.

PEER is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.