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Rescuing Animals a Labor of Love for Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue

Rescued horses are restored to good health by Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue.

For Pat Muncy and her husband Jason, rescuing abused horses and nurturing them back to full health is a way of life. The Muncys run Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue Inc. from their farm in Hardy, taking in horses seized by animal control officers in Virginia and elsewhere.

RVHR is funded by small grants and donations – the operation does not receive money from local governments to take in and feed horses. In all, the operation covers two pieces of property totaling almost 50 acres. RVHR can hold up to fifty horses. The couple has five of their own at the farm on Edwardsville Road.

Pat Muncy had been involved in another local rescue operation in the past and notes that three others in the area have closed up over the past few decades. “We bought [the property] to start the rescue,” said Pat Muncy, “over eight years ago.”

Some horses have come from as far away as California; Pat Muncy says there just aren’t many rescue operations in the country. Loudon, Franklin, Henry and other Virginia counties have sent seized horses. Some are voluntarily released to the RVHR when their owners realize they can no longer take care of the animal or they have been charged with neglect; some find they cannot afford to keep it fed and sheltered.

Muncy appreciates the volunteers that come by to help out with the twice a day feedings. “[The horses] look forward to seeing everybody. Otherwise it’s usually just me all winter long.” Local grocers and restaurants donate food supplies at times or she goes out and purchases items on sale.

When they can, the Muncys will send bales of hay and other foodstuffs to horse owners elsewhere who are struggling to feed themselves, let alone their animals. “We’ve helped out several of them now,” said Muncy, noting how many people are out of work.

Others that donate feed and hay make life easier for RVHR, also enabling the Muncys to help others at times. The 400 cans of corn from Food Lion she purchased at half price came in handy. “They eat it,” said Muncy, noting that other horses like fresh vegetables – even apple cider mixed with grain, especially the older ones.

Pat Muncy said they look for qualified new owners when the animals are restored to good health. Over 20 can be adopted right now. “They normally come in starved,” added Muncy, a stark comment on the condition many arrive in. It can take eight weeks to six months to restore them, depending in part on the age of the equine. At the discretion of a Board of Directors, horses at times may have to be euthanized – RVHR is not a retirement facility either.

A 501 c 3 non-profit, donations to RVHR are tax deductible. “We are constantly in a fundraising mode,” Muncy said with a chuckle, “always looking for contributions.” It’s a 24/7 endeavor for Pat Muncy, who grew up and around horses.

“[We] try to help as many animals and owners as we can,” said Muncy. “It’s something that was needed. I’d love for [the rescue farm] not to be needed.”

For more information or to donate call 721-1910 or visit  rvhr.com.

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