Small Business

Operator of stable for rescued horses faces eviction

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Operators of a stable for neglected horses near Fort Wayne are scrambling to find homes for the animals as it faces being shut down because of an ownership dispute over the property.

The Shadarobah Horse Rescue has about 40 horses and a couple of other animals, and is facing eviction on Friday from the site it has rented for nearly six years, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported.

Founder Michelle Heitz said volunteers have been trying to line up temporary homes for the animals while she tries to raise money to cover moving costs and other needs.

“Even if we have to leave first thing Friday morning, we have to continue to care for the horses,” she said.

Heitz blames the situation on a breakdown in negotiations after the property owner wanted a higher sale price than a donor was willing to pay for the rescue’s current 5-acre site and about 20 neighboring acres.

A statement released by the attorney for property owner Darryl Agler said Heitz hasn’t followed a 2008 contract for buying the land along U.S. 33 a few miles northwest of the city.

Agler intends to allow for the orderly transfer of the animals to any farm the horse rescue may acquire and has recruited horse lovers to care for the animals while they remain on the property, the statement said.

Heitz is trying to raise money through a plea on Shadarobah’s Facebook page.

“I can’t afford to panic,” she said. “The show has to go on daily. I’ve got a lot riding on my shoulders, but if I fall apart, I’m afraid all the troops are going to fall.”