The Buck Brogoitti Animal Rescue just outside Pendleton is in its final days. Director Tamara Brogoitti said circumstances have forced her to shut it down.
“It’s sad,” she said. “I gave it my best.”
John Trumbo, former Umatilla County sheriff, worked with Brogoitti in 2010 to use her land to provide a home to horses the sheriff’s office seized in abuse and neglect cases. The large-animal sanctuary became a charitable nonprofit and operated under a six-member advisory board that included Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan and Pendleton attorney Rob Collins, now Umatilla County circuit judge.
Brogoitti said the board stopped meeting a few years ago and some of its members moved from Pendleton. She had to stop taking horses a while back and mortgaged her rentals and drained her savings to trudge on with the sanctuary. Her health is in decline and she continues to grieve for her daughter, who died in 2017. With no more money coming in and only enough hay to last through the weekend for the 15 horses at the rescue, she was done.
“I was at the breaking point,” Brogoitti said.
She reached out on the operation’s Facebook page, asking for donations of hay. Someone on Facebook notified Laura Zirjacks-Stark about the circumstances at Buck Brogoitti. Zirjacks-Stark is the president and co-founder of the nonprofit Community Equine Outreach of Eastern Washington.
“We kind of had to step up — we’re the closest one to her,” she said.
Community Equine Outreach is a nonprofit in Mesa, Washington, about a 90-minute drive to Pendleton, and rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes horses, but Zirjacks-Stark said the operation right now is full. Community Equine Outreach will help get health and training evaluations on the 15 horses, but the immediate focus is on feeding them.
“We want to get some hay down to her right away,” she said, and is trying to raise $2,000 to buy that. Friday evening the effort was at the $300 mark. She said the easiest way to donate to Buck Brogoitti Animal Rescue is via the website PayPal to email@example.com.
She stressed Community Equine Outreach is a pass-through in this case, so donors need to specify if they want their money to buy the feed for the Pendleton rescue.
Zirjacks-Stark also said the intervention developed quickly, so she does not have all the answers and does not know the conditions of the horses. She said she hoped they are all healthy enough to re-home but that may not be the case.
“Let’s face it, nobody wants an old horse,” she said, so some may have to be humanely euthanized.
Brogoitti said she was hopeful the community wanted the sanctuary, and she was willing to leave her land for that cause. Instead, she said, she will look to donate her hundreds of acres to other charities.
And for now, she can breath a little easier as helps arrives.