AROUND NJ

Facing Eviction, Nonprofit Races to Find New Home for Standardbred Horses

The horse racing season is underway in New Jersey. But when those horses can’t race anymore, the nonprofit foundation Standardbred Retirement Foundation cares for the animals and works to find them new homes. The tables have turned for the nonprofit and its employees who are now racing to find a home for themselves.

Faced with an eviction notice, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation is scrambling to find a new home for their employees and nearly three dozen former race horses boarded on the 40-acre property in Hamilton. The nonprofit, which rehabilitates horses and arranges their adoptions, has called this facility home since 2007 but they say the landlord wants to increase the rent, and they can’t afford it.

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“We weren’t expecting the increase that she was looking for which was approximately 75 to 100 percent considering we would still have the burden of maintenance which we have been doing ourselves for the last two years,” said Dana Letual, the foundation’s business administrator.

Letual says the landlord, Geeta Madadi, told the nonprofit she had to raise the rent because she couldn’t afford to pay her bills. The foundation pays $4,000 a month now. They’ve been paying on a month to month basis. In April, they began lease negotiations.

“It’s been such a tough negotiation and unfortunately, she is unaware of what it takes to run the facility properly or what is needed,” Letual said.

It was Madadi’s husband who had a love of horses. He died tragically in his Trenton pharmacy in 2011 where he was shot and killed during a holdup. Madida was unreachable for an interview.

The Standbred Retirement Foundation was established in 1989. Today, they board 160 horses in different facilities throughout the country, but Hamilton is their home base. Nearly 30 horses are waiting to be adopted and have to make the move to a new location.

Letual’s ideal site would consist of a small barn with a few stalls, office space, an indoor and outdoor arena and enough pastures to hold 30 to 40 horses. And the foundation wants to stay in Central Jersey.

“We have a lot of support from the community around us,” said Letual. “Our staff members are all local and we do over 90 percent of our adoptions through this facility. That is why staying in this central location is key.”

The foundation is in the process of negotiating with a couple of other facilities and they hope to establish a new home in the coming weeks….

Lauren Wanko has the full story from Hamilton.