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The Desert Trail
July 12, 2001
By Kurt Schauppner

Morongo Basin horses who need to be rescued, whether from abandonment, abuse or neglect, will soon have a new set of friends.

Fran and Ron Becker, who recently moved onto ten acres which Ron's grandparents homesteaded in 1953, are in the process of starting a non-profit horse rescue program named for Fran's grandfather.

The Jack Auchterlonie Memorial Equine Sanctuary, or JAMES, is named for a Scottish man who once farmed with horses and later bred and judged horses.

"People move out here and say 'gee, we have five acres and why don't we get a horse' not knowing exactly what they are getting into," Ron said.

"They don't realize how much care they need. A horse has got to eat at least twice a day. They will eat 40 pounds of food a day," he said.

Sometimes, he added, people don't realize how much horses need to eat.

"Or they don't have the finances to feed it and they feed it every other day rather than every day," Fran said.

"Before you know it this horse is losing weight," Ron said.

"I've owned horses for a good number of years, Fran kind of comes from a horse background. Her grandfather was a farmer in Scotland, he farmed with horses," he said.

In order to get the work out about their community service, the Beckers have placed brochures around the Morongo Basin in feed stores, city offices and veterinarians.

"If somebody feels there is a need they can give us a call and we will pick the animal up," Ron said, later adding that the rescue service will be fully operational, with room for up to 40 equine, by the end of the month.

"We'll also take horses that are going into retirement, if they can't be ridden anymore," Fran said. "If the owner can't find a home for it."

Once an abused, neglected or abandoned horse is brought in, Ron said, the rehabilitation process, including a complete veterinarian check and a good diet to put the horse's weight back on, begins.

That process, getting the horse back in a good, sound condition, can take anywhere from nine months to a year.

"When we feel the horse is ready we will place the horse with a good family," Ron said. "We will do a background check on the family first. We're not just going to place him with anyone."

As a non-profit group, Ron said, JAMES will pay its bills with foundations and grants from the government. Fran added that they will also accept donations from individuals.

"We will also gladly accept community donations. If people want to make contributions they will give us a call," Fran said.

They can also call, she said, if they are interested in volunteering or want more information about the group. Ron and Fran can be reached at 362-1357.

The cost of helping horses depends on the horse's condition, Ron said, adding that it could run to $90 to $100 per month per horse.

Once the operation is in full swing, JAMES will accept all kinds of equine, including horses, mules, burros, donkeys and even zebra.

"If it looks like a horse and walks like a horse we will take it," he said. "Any breed horse that is in need."

In the future, Ron said, JAMES will want to work with the school district in order to organize field trips either to the sanctuary on Brant Crossing Road or to visit school.

The idea, he said, is to show how to care for horses and to show the types of personalities horse can have.

He said he would also like to attract people who would like to perform community service while doing volunteer work at the sanctuary.



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Jack Auchterlonie Memorial Equine Sanctuary (JAMES)
576 Longview Road - Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 362-1357

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