It's not every day you find yourself taking on a massive herd of minis, but that was our reality in late August 2021. It started with a picture from the Stroud kill pen that was sent to us from our quarantine partner, Falisha. She let us know that the kill pen had 50+ minis they weren't going to post publicly and asked if we wanted to bail any. We initially agreed to take on 22 minis as we were under the impression that the rest would be getting resold at auction. This was already a big undertaking and the largest group we had ever done.
When Falisha was picking up our second load of minis from the original 22, she saw that the rest of the minis were getting processed for slaughter. After confirming with the kill pen owner, they had changed their minds and decided to ship them instead. We then had three hours to make the decision on if we wanted to save anymore. Because of our history working with this particular kill pen, they agreed to let us put half down on the remaining 42 minis to keep them off the truck. We then frantically began fundraising to cover their bail. In all, bail on the 64 minis was going to cost $35,575.00.
Within the next week, we had fundraised to cover initial bail for the remaining 42 and got all the minis transported to our quarantine at Healing Hearts Ranch & Rescue. A few days after settling in, we noticed one of the mini mare's health was rapidly declining. She was taken straight to the hospital an hour and a half away. They started her on several medications and fluids, but by the second day, Betty (as she was named by the vets and quarantine) had passed away. While Betty was at the hospital, a second mini, Charlie, started displaying the same symptoms. He was taken to the vet as well and we had the whole herd inspected to see if more needed to go as a precaution. We ended up sending another 6 minis. Blood results and symptoms varied amongst them all and gave vets quite the puzzle to figure out. A few days after Charlie was admitted, his temperature had dropped drastically and he was comatose. We decided to humanely euthanize him at this point. The remaining minis seemed to all do okay after that. We had one more mini back at the ranch who passed away one afternoon. We are not sure if from the same illness or another underlying cause. The vets finally determined the root cause of the problems to be a viral pneumonia. Three more minis ended up going to the clinic. This last group included Chester, a palomino paint gelding who had started having seizures. He ended up staying at the clinic for 24 days and has just been released. His bill alone was over $5,000.
We have adopted out 6 of the minis to our close partners and after losing 3 of the minis, we are down to a total of 55 minis.
It would be a lie to say we aren't a bit overwhelmed right now, but we are taking it day by day. This endeavor could easily cost over $100,000 total to get all the minis healthy and starting their new lives. We are staying incredibly transparent throughout the entire process and giving our followers as many updates as possible. We are expecting to have the first load of minis arrive to California in late October.
Breakdown of all ours costs (to date):
Bail for all 64 minis: $35,575
Transport to quarantine: $550
Health Certificates: $1,210
2 months of quarantine: $360 per mini ($19,800 for 55)
Hospital Bills: $20,947.00
Medication Bill: $706
Hauling to CA in October (each load has about 15-20 minis): $3575 per load
Gelding Procedures: $250 per mini (4 identified in the group)
Running Estimated Total: $83,183
We have no idea how long it will take us to adopt out each group of minis so we are waiting to predict future quarantine costs at this time. We do not have the space to keep more than 15 new minis at our facility and fosters at a time so the groups will slowly be brought out as we have available space.