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Last updated: Sat. Mar. 22, 2014 - 10:37 am EDT

Horses beat the race for eviction

Rescue group is able to relocate them at 11th hour

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FORT WAYNE — The Shadarobah Horse Rescue, facing an eviction deadline of 9 a.m. Friday, managed to relocate all of its animals from the Goshen Road property, removing the last animal about 5 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, the organization is counting on volunteers to finish a cleanup of the property today.

The horse rescue takes in neglected horses from the state veterinarian and local officials. It had been operating at the Goshen Road site for about six years and trying to buy it on contract, but it had fallen behind on payments.

The court issued an eviction order in late December, requiring Shadarobah to vacate the property by Feb. 5, but the horses remained. The property owner, Darryl Agler, eventually arranged for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department to enforce the eviction order Friday morning.

Shadarobah’s president, Michelle Heitz, said she and volunteers spent several days trying to find temporary homes for the 42 horses, a goat and a miniature mule.

Heitz said some of the horses that were in the process of being adopted were picked up by their new owners. Volunteers helped move the rest of the animals to three locations around Fort Wayne, where volunteers will care for them.

“We have three mini-Shadarobahs,” Heitz said. The facilities are on the north, south and west ends of Fort Wayne.

Heitz said more than 100 volunteers have come forward in the past few days, donating time, labor, trucks and even pizza to help with the move.

“The No. 1 goal was to get all the living beings off the property with food,” Heitz said.

Heitz is now counting on volunteers to help move remaining equipment and clean the property.

Cleanup will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Volunteers don’t have to make arrangements to show up at the site at 10113 Goshen Road. Volunteers are urged to bring trucks, trailers, storage facilities and trash bags as well as cleaning supplies.

The group asks that people with trucks and trailers message Shadarobah’s Facebook page so they can gauge how many trucks and trailers they will have.

“It’s kind of like everybody made it out of a burning house; now what do we do?” said Heitz, who said she hasn’t slept or changed clothes in three days.

Shadarobah’s attorney, Cody Williams, called the developments an opportunity for a fresh start for everyone involved.

The goal now is to find a new, permanent home for the operation.

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