Gilbert horse rescue crippled by power surge - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert horse rescue crippled by power surge

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Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 2:19 pm | Updated: 3:43 pm, Fri Oct 14, 2011.

For 15 years, the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue organization has been saving horses from harm and neglect and finding them new homes, but now the nonprofit organization is hoping for a miracle of its own.

Since an early morning power surge on Sept. 15, the rescue group’s Gilbert complex at 11811 S. Lindsay Road has been without power. It’s also running low on feed and hay and is without an operable computer so it hopes donors will step forward to help with the $35,000 expense of rewiring its facility.

The surge destroyed the office computers, melted an electrical outlet and filled the air with a burning smell that spooked the horses, according to Skip DeNardo, a vice chairman for the rescue organization.

DeNardo said SRP told rescue group officials that the wires behind the main electrical breaker box became overheated, melted and caused the surge. Now the complex, which includes an 81-year-old house, will have to be rewired. Until the building is up to code, the rescue group cannot effectively run the facility, which also includes a water misting system for the horses on excessively hot days.

“What we’re most thankful for is that people were here working and were able to shut the circuit breakers off, DeNardo said. “If this would’ve happened next month, we would’ve been gone.”

DeNardo explained that the group is scheduled to speak at the Blue Planet Film Festival Oct. 7-10 in California.

“If there wouldn’t have been anyone working, we’d probably be dealing with some dead horses right now,” he said.

DeNardo said it’s the first electrical problem he’s seen in years of hot summers, and the main breaker box was replaced by SRP in March. “They were the last ones to touch it. They said we owned it and would have to be the ones to pay to replace it,” he said. “An independent electrician also looked at the main breaker box and said the wires behind the meter were loose, causing sparks, which likely melted the wires and caused the surge. SRP won’t reconnect the electricity until the buildings are rewired. We’ve lost our ability to raise funds and feed the horses.”

Scott Harelson, a spokesman for SRP, told the Tribune on Monday that when the breaker box was replaced in March, a test showed that the voltage was working correctly on the utility company’s end.

“We understand that it was a major issue, but our responsibility stops at the meter,” Harelson said.

Harelson said that when SRP responded to the surge last week, the utility company’s troubleshooter discovered aging wires and loose connections at the barn.

“A nearby transformer feeds power to the horse ranch and four other residences, and it’s possible that the load of power needed for the horse ranch had something to do with it,” Harelson said.

It costs $6,500 per month to operate the facility, according to DeNardo. The group had $220 in its checking account at the time of the power surge.

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue currently houses 15 horses ranging in age from 5 to 30, and has about 80 volunteers who feed animals, raise funds and do other tasks for the organization. The group is putting plans to adopt a horse from the Alpine Forest Service in northern Arizona on hold. The nonprofit takes in horses from National Forest Service groups including from Alpine, Payson and Clifton in northern Arizona or from homes of horse owners who no longer can afford to keep them. The horses include mustangs, morgans, quarterhorses and thoroughbreds, which are adopted out to new homes to save them from the slaughterhouse. The group does not plan on moving the horses to another facility, but hopes more people will sign up for its “Bale Out a Horse Program” to reduce the burden and cost of feeding the horses. Wildhorse Ranch also hopes someone will donate a computer or two so it can get back online to perform fundraising and marketing functions.

“We really need cash donations so we can buy a new electric box,” DeNardo said. “We’re looking at the possibility of trying to get off the grid and going solar so this doesn’t happen again. Being a nonprofit, we stayed busy mostly conducting fundraising and marketing, but the vet and food bills have to come first.”

DeNardo said it used to be hard to ask for handouts, but the setback, combined with the sour economy, has changed that.

“We have come to the realization that we’re doing the asking for the horses. They can’t speak, so we have to do the asking for them. Without us, or outside help, they’re not going to get fed.”

If anyone is interested in making a donation or participating in Wildhorse Ranch Rescue’s “Bale Out a Horse Program,” they can call (866) 926-8007 or visit www.whrr.org.

For 15 years, the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue organization has been saving horses from harm and neglect and finding them new homes, but now the nonprofit organization is hoping for a miracle of its own.

Since an early morning power surge on Sept. 15, the rescue group’s Gilbert complex at 11811 S. Lindsay Road has been without power. It’s also running low on feed and hay and is without an operable computer so it hopes donors will step forward to help with the $35,000 expense of rewiring its facility.

The surge destroyed the office computers, melted an electrical outlet and filled the air with a burning smell that spooked the horses, according to Skip DeNardo, a vice chairman for the rescue organization.

DeNardo said SRP told rescue group officials that the wires behind the main electrical breaker box became overheated, melted and caused the surge. Now the complex, which includes an 81-year-old house, will have to be rewired. Until the building is up to code, the rescue group cannot effectively run the facility, which also includes a water misting system for the horses on excessively hot days.

“What we’re most thankful for is that people were here working and were able to shut the circuit breakers off, DeNardo said. “If this would’ve happened next month, we would’ve been gone.”

DeNardo explained that the group is scheduled to speak at the Blue Planet Film Festival Oct. 7-10 in California.

“If there wouldn’t have been anyone working, we’d probably be dealing with some dead horses right now,” he said.

DeNardo said it’s the first electrical problem he’s seen in years of hot summers, and the main breaker box was replaced by SRP in March. “They were the last ones to touch it. They said we owned it and would have to be the ones to pay to replace it,” he said. “An independent electrician also looked at the main breaker box and said the wires behind the meter were loose, causing sparks, which likely melted the wires and caused the surge. SRP won’t reconnect the electricity until the buildings are rewired. We’ve lost our ability to raise funds and feed the horses.”

Scott Harelson, a spokesman for SRP, told the Tribune on Monday that when the breaker box was replaced in March, a test showed that the voltage was working correctly on the utility company’s end.

“We understand that it was a major issue, but our responsibility stops at the meter,” Harelson said.

“A nearby transformer feeds power to the horse ranch and four other residences, and it’s possible that the load of power needed for the horse ranch had something to do with it,” he said.

It costs $6,500 per month to operate the facility, according to DeNardo. The group had $220 in its checking account at the time of the power surge.

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue currently houses 15 horses ranging in age from 5 to 30, and has about 80 volunteers who feed animals, raise funds and do other tasks for the organization. The group is putting plans to adopt a horse from the Alpine Forest Service in northern Arizona on hold. The nonprofit takes in horses from National Forest Service groups including from Alpine, Payson and Clifton in northern Arizona or from homes of horse owners who no longer can afford to keep them. The horses include mustangs, morgans, quarterhorses and thoroughbreds, which are adopted out to new homes to save them from the slaughterhouse.

The group does not plan on moving the horses to another facility, but hopes more people will sign up for its “Bale Out a Horse Program” to reduce the burden and cost of feeding the horses. Wildhorse Ranch also hopes someone will donate a computer or two so it can get back online to perform fundraising and marketing functions.

“We really need cash donations so we can buy a new electric box,” DeNardo said. “We’re looking at the possibility of trying to get off the grid and going solar so this doesn’t happen again. Being a nonprofit, we stayed busy mostly conducting fundraising and marketing, but the vet and food bills have to come first.”

DeNardo said it used to be hard to ask for handouts, but the setback, combined with the sour economy, has changed that.

“We have come to the realization that we’re doing the asking for the horses. They can’t speak, so we have to do the asking for them. Without us, or outside help, they’re not going to get fed.”

If anyone is interested in making a donation or participating in Wildhorse Ranch Rescue’s “Bale Out a Horse Program,” they can call (866) 926-8007 or visit www.whrr.org.

For 15 years, the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue organization has been saving horses from harm and neglect and finding them new homes, but now the nonprofit organization is hoping for a miracle of its own.

Since an early morning power surge on Sept. 15, the rescue group’s Gilbert complex at 11811 S. Lindsay Road has been without power. It’s also running low on feed and hay and is without an operable computer so it hopes donors will step forward to help with the $35,000 expense of rewiring its facility.

The surge destroyed the office computers, melted an electrical outlet and filled the air with a burning smell that spooked the horses, according to Skip Denardo, a vice chairman for the rescue organization.

Denardo said SRP told rescue group officials that the wires behind the main electrical breaker box became overheated, melted and caused the surge. Now the complex, which includes an 81-year-old house, will have to be rewired. Until the building is up to code, the rescue group cannot effectively run the facility, which also includes a water misting system for the horses on excessively hot days.

“What we’re most thankful for is that people were here working and were able to shut the circuit breakers off, Denardo said. “If this would’ve happened next month, we would’ve been gone.”

Denardo explained that the group is scheduled to speak at the Blue Planet Film Festival Oct. 7-10 in California.

“If there wouldn’t have been anyone working, we’d probably be dealing with some dead horses right now,” he said.

Denardo said it’s the first electrical problem he’s seen in years of hot summers, and the main breaker box was replaced by SRP in March. “They were the last ones to touch it. They said we owned it and would have to be the ones to pay to replace it,” he said. “An independent electrician also looked at the main breaker box and said the wires behind the meter were loose, causing sparks, which likely melted the wires and caused the surge. SRP won’t reconnect the electricity until the buildings are rewired. We’ve lost our ability to raise funds and feed the horses.”

It costs $6,500 per month to operate the facility, according to Denardo. The group had $220 in its checking account at the time of the power surge.

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue currently houses 15 horses ranging in age from 5 to 30, and has about 80 volunteers who feed animals, raise funds and do other tasks for the organization. The group is putting plans to adopt a horse from the Alpine Forest Service in northern Arizona on hold. The nonprofit takes in horses from National Forest Service groups including from Alpine, Payson and Clifton in northern Arizona or from homes of horse owners who no longer can afford to keep them. The horses include mustangs, morgans, quarterhorses and thoroughbreds, which are adopted out to new homes to save them from the slaughterhouse.

The group does not plan on moving the horses to another facility, but hopes more people will sign up for its “Bale Out a Horse Program” to reduce the burden and cost of feeding the horses. Wildhorse Ranch also hopes someone will donate a computer or two so it can get back online to perform fundraising and marketing functions.

“We really need cash donations so we can buy a new electric box,” Denardo said. “We’re looking at the possibility of trying to get off the grid and going solar so this doesn’t happen again. Being a nonprofit, we stayed busy mostly conducting fundraising and marketing, but the vet and food bills have to come first.”

Denardo said it used to be hard to ask for handouts, but the setback, combined with the sour economy, has changed that.

“We have come to the realization that we’re doing the asking for the horses. They can’t speak, so we have to do the asking for them. Without us, or outside help, they’re not going to get fed.”

If anyone is interested in making a donation or participating in Wildhorse Ranch Rescue’s “Bale Out a Horse Program,” they can call (866) 926-8007 or visit www.whrr.org.

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