In 1992, the Humane Care for Equine Act was passed, establishing the Equine Division of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
“Six women started GERL to raise money for the Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Division because that division doesn’t have any money allocated for the care of the horses they impound,” said Lynne Robinson Yates, area coordinator of GERL.
GERL has provided more than $360,000 to support the GDA Equine Division.
“This group was started with the mission of providing the money to pay for feed, hay, vet care and other care for the horses impounded,” said Yates, a Kennesaw resident who was born and raised in Marietta. She is 1972 graduate of Marietta High School and has one grown son.
Since its inception, GERL expanded its mission to provide education, incentive programs for equine health, and funding of the GDA Equine Division to help eliminate the problem of equine neglect and abuse in Georgia. The group also works with law enforcement groups that prosecute those arrested for abuse.
“The equine problem can’t be solved strictly by rescue. There are not enough rescue organizations or money to rescue horses. We need to try to solve the problem,” said Yates, who grew up around horses.
Equine abuse and neglect is multi-faceted and includes issues such as over-breeding, which makes a horse at risk for abuse because it is not marketable.
“Owners that don’t take care of their animals have not been held accountable,” she said.
GERL also provides an equine foster program.
“People can call if they have an unexpected illness, job loss or other reason that they can no longer care for their horses. As long as it meets our criteria, we can bring that horse into our foster program,” she said.
Another important program GERL offers is a crisis intervention program, offering short-term assistance to horse owners so the horse can remain with the owner.
GERL is a volunteer organization. The continuing success of GERL depends on annual membership dues, donations from individuals and other organizations, as well as its volunteers. To learn more or to donate, visit gerlltd.org.