WOODBINE, Md. — Animal rescue and welfare advocates are mourning the loss of a pioneer.
Kathy Schwartz-Howe, co-founder of Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, died Monday at the age of 71, following a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Coincidence led to Schwartz-Howe becoming a trailblazer in the world of equine rescue.
It was back in 1989 when Schwartz-Howe and her then-husband, Allan Schwartz, discovered Toby, a malnourished gelding.
The couple got their first up close experience as to what the process is like to acquire a horse in need, and care for it through rehabilitation.
Schwartz-Howe soon realized Maryland was not equipped at the time with facilities that could treat horses like Toby, who faced long odds of survival.
Approximately 70 percent of horse rescues fail within the first three years. So it became her calling, and Days End Farm Horse Rescue was born.
But it didn’t come easy. With help from local experts Schwartz-Howe enlisted the State to handle horse seizures as well as the legal aspect of abuse cases, so she could focus on keeping the animals safe and getting them rehabilitated for their next owners.
One of those experts was Carolyn “Nicky” Ratliff, who is a current member of Days End’s Advisory Council.
“Kathy did an unbelievable job of educating herself on horses, horse health, and how to run a non-profit organization. She became an absolute expert and, essentially, an encyclopedia,” said Ratliff. “Prior to Kathy, most animal control officers didn’t know the front end from the back end of a horse.”
More than three decades later the non-profit is still going strong, sheltering up to 150 horses each year.
During that span, Days End has saved more than 3,000 horses.
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