By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- As the directors of the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County look back on 2012, one thing they all agree on is the generosity of their donors and volunteers have helped them stay afloat in troubling financial times.
Recently, some of those volunteers came back to the animal shelter to be thanked by staff for their hard work to make the shelter a better place for larger animals, namely, horses.
Dwayne Sprenger Sr. and his two sons, Dwayne Jr. and Devin, donated and built a 53-foot, state-of-the-art round pen for training horses this fall and already local horses are reaping the benefits of the their generosity.
Mr. Sprenger Sr. owns and operates Fellsmere Feed Store.
More horses are being given up because they are too costly to feed and maintain in this economy, said Ilka Daniel, director of animal protection for the shelter.
When the horses come to the animal shelter, they often require extra training before they can be adopted out, such as Cindy, an 8-year-old quarter horse, Ms. Daniel said.
Another volunteer, horse trainer John Thompson, has been working with Cindy for free and helping her learn to trust people.
She came to the shelter with a serious skin condition and while her skin heals, her confidence with people is also being built up by training with Mr. Thompson.
Mr. Sprenger has been a friend of the animal shelter for some time, donating hay rides and other things to help animals at the shelter, Ms. Daniel said.
Without volunteers, the animal shelter simply would not be able to function, countless animals would not be saved and find new homes and people who can care for them, she said.
Earlier this year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded the animal shelter with a $2,000 grant to construct additional pasture fencing around the shelter's barn area.
For more information about the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, visit www.hsvb.org.