The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals has opened a new $2 million equine rehabilitation facility on its campus in Windham.
The expansion features an indoor riding arena, an adjoining classroom and administrative offices.
MSSPA CEO Meris Bickford says the organization trains the horses, which increases their chances of getting adopted. Additionally, there are only about 75 days a year in Maine when horses can comfortably be trained outside.
“What we have needed for a period of time is an indoor arena, an indoor facility where we can safely exercise and train these horses as they’re making they way to permanency,” she says. "In Maine there are really very few days that it's not too hot, too cold, too buggy, too rainy to be training horses outside."
Bickford says they currently have 42 horses at the Windham facility, with another dozen in foster care. She says last year, the society took in 17 horses seized by law enforcement and adopted out 19.
She says the horses cared for by the society have been abused and neglected and removed from their owners.
Bickford says the society was founded in Portland in 1872. Its original mission was to take care of horses that pulled fire engines and street cars.
The shelter is open to the public every day, free of charge, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.