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Cavel-bound horses ready for adoption after wreck

UNION, Mo. (AP) - Once wanted just for their meat, about two dozen horses that survived a trailer wreck are ready for adoption. The animals were headed to an Illinois slaughterhouse in September when the truck overturned on Interstate 44 between Sullivan and St. Clair. Eighteen horses died. The survivors have been on the mend at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, a rescue facility in Union. The Humane Society of Missouri owns the ranch and is making the horses available for adoption. Longmeadow staffers treated the injured horses at the scene of the wreck. Since then, the horses have been rehabilitated at equine clinics and at the ranch. The Humane Society was granted custody of the horses in November. In exchange, the organization will not seek to recover more than $150,000 in costs associated with the horses' rescue. The adoption process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, said Ranch Manger Amanda Hirshberg said. People wanting to adopt a horse must agree to care for the horse and not give it away. &#8220We keep track of horses to make sure they don't end up in a slaughterhouse,” Ranch Director Earlene Cole said. Adoption fees for the rescued horses range from $300 to $800, which is less than the $1,050 the ranch estimates it spends on the first two months of an animal's rehabilitation. Ranch assistants said people shouldn't hesitate about adopting a horse that has been through something as traumatic as the trailer wreck. Some horses are trained for riding. Some of the horses do have bad habits, but they can overcome them with guidance and attention, said ranch assistant Nicole Howarth. The ranch cares for more than 160 rescued horses, pigs, goats and chickens and prepares them for adoption. Open houses are held the first and third Saturday of every month for potential adopters to meet the animals and fill out applications. --- Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, www.stltoday.com

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