2013-10-04 / People

Neighbors

Cape girl saves horses from slaughter
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer


Meghan Murphy lets Murphy, a 5-month-old horse, roam a pasture at Triple J Farm right after giving him his first bath. In August, Murphy, a resident of Cape Elizabeth, saved Murphy and another horse, Dreamer ,from slaughter. (Courtesy photo) Meghan Murphy lets Murphy, a 5-month-old horse, roam a pasture at Triple J Farm right after giving him his first bath. In August, Murphy, a resident of Cape Elizabeth, saved Murphy and another horse, Dreamer ,from slaughter. (Courtesy photo) CAPE ELIZABETH — A simple search online for a new horse to ride turned into a life-changing event for Meghan Murphy, 12, of Cape Elizabeth.

Murphy, a student at Cape Elizabeth Middle School, was looking for information about leasing a riding horse in early August when she stumbled upon AuctionHorses.net, a website that listed an 11-month old horse that was scheduled to be executed.

“I was looking at leasing a horse because my horse, Coal, had colic surgery and I still can’t ride him,” Murphy said. “I saw this site about executing horses and thought, ‘That’s not nice.’”

After she saw Dreamer, an 11-month-old horse, was hours away from being killed, Murphy felt compelled to intervene.

One act of goodwill soon turned into two. Murphy said when the vehicle came to take Dreamer away from the kill pen, he would not leave without Murphy, a 5-monthold horse that stuck right by his side. Rather than try to separate the two, Murphy decided to use her money to save both of them.

“I decided I couldn’t spend my money on myself if these horses were going to die,” Murphy said.

She said she had quite the surprise for her father, Mick Murphy, when he came home from work that evening.

“Once I knew the story of it, I couldn’t say no,” he said.

She arranged for them to be transported to Maine from Washington and be boarded at Triple J Farm in Bowdoin, a farm she was familiar with after participating in the Chris Lombard Clinics in summer 2012.

Horses have been a life-long love for Murphy, who has been riding since she was 18 months old.

After seeing her daughter constantly drawing pictures of farms, Murphy’s mother Deb took her to Spurwink Farm in Cape Elizabeth to see what a farm looked like in real life.

Murphy said as soon as she saw the horses she was in awe.

“I decided that I wanted to have a farm and have a horse,” she said. “My mom let me go on pony rides there. I don’t think she ever imagined it would turn into this.”

Murphy, who plays basketball and volleyball at Cape Elizabeth Middle School, said her horse, Coal, who is boarded at Walnut Hill Equestrian Center, is expected to “make a full recovery,” but won’t be ready for riding until December. Murphy said one of her favorite places to ride is Shady Oaks, a farm in Cape Elizabeth that is owned by her physical education teacher, Andy Strout.

Murphy said she hopes her story will educate people about the issue of horse slaughter.

“Slaughter houses need to be eliminated. It is true there are too many horses. It is an issue because of over breeding,” she said. “There are other ways of dealing with the overage of horses rather than slaughtering them.”

Although she has the support of her parents, Murphy said the horses are her responsibility.

“This experience has forced me to grow up pretty fast because now I have a $5,000 a year bill and a $400 a month bill,” Murphy said.

To help offset the costs, Murphy has taken to doing odd jobs for friends and neighbors, including cat and dog sitting, lawn mowing and, come winter, shoveling.

“We are very proud of Meghan for having the courage and perseverance to save Dreamer and Murphy. She never gave up on her goal, even when it seemed impossible, and there were some very tough moments,” her mother wrote in an email to the Sentry. “We are in awe of her, and truly grateful that we get to be her parents.

She was born with something special and our job is to continue to nurture her so that she can continue to make the world a better place,” she continued. “One voice, one young girl, can make a difference, and unite a wider community so that we all can help and make the world a better place.”

While Dreamer and Murphy are safe from execution, Murphy said it is too early to determine what their future will hold for them. She makes the trip to Triple J – an hour away from her Cape Elizabeth home – three times a week to see Dreamer and Murphy.

“Right now, I just want them to be happy,” she said.

Murphy hopes as the bills continue to come in, the public will continue to support her.

For more information on how to help, email mjmurphyii@myfairpoint.net. Donations can be sent to 24 Pilot Point Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107.

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