Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cherokee County woman works to save horses.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

By Gurvir Dhindsa, Good Day Atlanta anchor / Fox 5 Atlanta

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - In these tough economic times, many people are not only struggling to make ends meet, they're also finding it difficult to take care of their animals. Many of those animals end up abandoned.

Cheryl Flanagan grew up watching westerns, and wanted to be a cowboy or a cowgirl. She didn't end up on a range out west, but ended up on 60 acres in Cherokee County where she started taking in abandoned or neglected horses.

"You know, people call when you have a little bit of property and you hear a story about a horse and you feel bad. And you say ok, and it starts to grow from there," said Flanagan.

She currently has 70 horses, including Alvie, a racehorse whose injury put an end to her days on the track. Many of the horses that Flanagan takes in have had racing careers.

"They don't have a chance otherwise, especially if they have a problem or have to heal from an injury. There are other purposes for horses than riding. There are people who are happy to cuddle a horse and love it. They are so therapeutic," explained Flanagan.

Flanagan explained that the horse sanctuary also seems to be helping people.

"The horses kind of pick different people. We've had families reunited here. I've had people who have been in and out of therapy. It's kind of an addiction. It's a good addiction," said Flanagan.

In addition to the horses, other animals such as chickens and goats, roam the property.

The ultimate goal for Flanagan is to find permanent homes for the horses, so she can make room for any more that come her way. Besides the 60 acres, she also leases other land for horses. She says her ultimate goal to find about 100 acres that she can turn into a sanctuary.

For more information on Flanagan's efforts, visit

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