Tearsong’s Equine Athletes, Rescue, and Sanctuary (T.E.A.R.S.)
The Founder and Executive Director of the rescue is Karina Benish. She is uniquely qualified to run a rescue and sanctuary. Karina holds a master’s degree in education, is a registered veterinary technician, and as a retired Warrant Officer of the Army Veterinary Corps, she literally has a world of large animal experience.
The rescue started when a few folks needed to rehome horses that weren’t suited to them or were not able to properly care for them. The word got out, and folks just kept calling and asking if they could give their horse(s) to Karina. In 2006, Ilona Chodnika joined the rescue as the owner of the property the rescue resides at. Ilona contacted Karina because she wanted to ride horses and help with anything horse. In 2008, Ilona (now TEARS Secretary) and Karina filed for 501c3 status and it was granted by the IRS.
We now were officially Tearsong’s Equine Athletes, Rescue, and Sanctuary. We didn’t realize the initials are TEARS until we got our bank account and the rescue name wouldn’t fit in the computer. Our little rescue had 6 horses at the time. Soon after receiving our non-profit status, we started working with 2 other rescues who didn’t have property and had horses in need frequently. We partnered with Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue and The Second Race (this group no longer exists). We also partnered with Auction Horse Rescue once we had established ourselves a bit more. At this time, we are unable to partner with other rescues because of the number of horses in our care.
The rescue experienced a huge influx of horses when the economy crashed in 2009-2010 and has been a capacity ever since. We have a cap of 20 horses stipulated in our bylaws to ensure that every horse TEARS takes in is able to get the medical care, farrier care, training, and attention required to enable these horses to heal both mentally and physically before going on to another career. Sometimes TEARS will get a horse that is too injured to have a reasonable chance at a pain free life. Only after proper veterinary evaluations and time to ensure we have given the horse every prudent chance to recover, will we make the decision to send them to the Rainbow Bridge.
In 2013, TEARS became involved in a hoarding case and over the course of a little over a year, was able to take in 6 horses (one was pregnant). The hoarder was not inclined to release more of the horses and 2 weeks after we got the last 4 out, animal control
seized all of her animals based on evidence TEARS provided. All of the horses TEARS took in had never been handled, never had a halter on, and were feral at the time we captured them.
Currently, TEARS is concentrating on getting all the horses in our care under saddle (if over the age of 4 years), healed of mental and/or physical trauma, ground work for those horses under 4 years of age, and partnering with the Mataguay Boy Scout Camp
where our horses go when they are ready to “graduate” and become a steady mount for either an adult (Scout leader or camp personnel) or a beginner Scout. Once these horses come back after 2.5-3 months of camp, they are placed up for adoption.
Our primary mission is to take in horses that have a reasonable chance of finding another career, retrain them, and adopt them out. We keep up to 5 horses for educational purposes like having Girl Scouts out to earn badges, veterinary technician and veterinary students out to learn about the husbandry and health care challenges of horses (hands on experience treating and learning how to work with horses). TEARS is expressly prohibited in our bylaws from paying for horses or going to auctions to acquire horses.To learn about Tearsong’s Rescue and Sanctuary, visit us on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TEARSONGS, on our website: http://bigshire.wix.com/tearsongsrescue#! or contact Karina Benish directly at 760-443-6803.