Kevin Riordan: South Jersey's Oasis center provides homes for 'throwaway animals'Ginger likes me.
"She wants to be your friend," Denise Lanzetta says.
I'm not so sure; Ginger weighs half a ton and stands 16 hands high. Besides, she's the only quarter horse I've ever met.
But this 17-year-old chestnut mare, convalescing at Lanzetta's place in the Atlantic County Pinelands, quickly wins me over with her gentle charms.
Which makes it even tougher to believe that not long ago, Ginger was so starved you could count the vertebrae in her noble neck.
"Horses become throwaway animals, just like dogs or cats," says Pam Brighton, president of the Oasis Animal Sanctuary, an organization in Monroe Township. "We take in as many animals as we can. But we don't have a . . . facility of our own, and we are limited."
Lanzetta, an Oasis volunteer for three years, rescued Ginger this summer. (It's a complicated story involving a change in caretakers and inappropriate feed, but the horse was willingly surrendered.)
Ginger now enjoys the good life on Lanzetta's 19-acre farm, also home to nine other rescued horses, a bunch of cats and dogs, and a potbellied pig.
"There are horses here that have been abandoned or chained in their barns," Brighton says. "They're left to die."
I don't get it.
"We don't, either," she says.
Founded in 2000, Oasis rescues as many as 70 animals - mostly dogs and cats, as well as a couple of horses - annually. A network of adoptive and foster families and volunteers supports the work.
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