JAMUL, Calif. — A local sanctuary for abused horses was leveled by the flames of the destructive Valley Fire, but the animals survived, and the family running the ranch says they’ll keep rescuing more.
Hyslop Horse Haven was once a sanctuary where beaten, abused and starving horses could live a better life. The family that runs the ranch returned this week to find everything turned to ash, but their worst fear — that the horses would be badly hurt or killed — did not come true. The animals survived the blaze.
“It was one of the scariest things that we’ve ever been through,” owner Patty Hyslop told FOX 5.
“When I saw those hundred-foot flames coming at us … I (thought I) was going to come back the next day to dead horses or severely burnt horses. And if they had died, I think I would’ve died with them. My heart would have just broken.”
Hyslop suffers from multiple sclerosis that left her paralyzed at one point. She credits her horse for bringing her new life. She was the last to evacuate, refusing to leave the animals behind.
While the horses’ lives were spared, the sanctuary lays in complete ruin, with tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
The flames ripped through more than 8 sheds full of medication, feed and other equipment. Even cars and trailer homes for the ranch’s volunteers have turned to ash.
“My shed alone, there was probably $10,000 worth of tack and medications feed everything inside and it’s just all gone,” said Hope Gilces, Hyslop’s niece.
Despite the devastation, Hyslop said the rescue will keep operating to the best of their ability, helping animals impacted by the blaze.
Friends and family are raising money on GoFundMe to help the Hyslop Family rebuild the horse rescue. You can view the fundraiser by clicking here.
They say they need golf carts, tack and medication for the horses most urgently.