Israel's many horses and donkeys don't know it, but they have a dedicated team of guardian angels looking out for them 24/7: the Pegasus Society.
The man in charge of this lifesaving operation is its founder, Zvika Tamuz. Tamuz has raised his own horses for decades, and has been caring for abused donkeys and horses since the early 1990s.
Tamuz's extensive knowledge and experience gained him a reputation in Israel as the number one go-to for horse and donkey rescue. He was always the first call animal welfare organizations, municipal vets, and even government agencies would make when they encountered a horse or donkey in need.
In 2004, Tamuz realized his informal rescue and rehabilitation operation, funded entirely out of his own pocket, simply couldn't accommodate the country's growing need. Colleagues in the animal welfare field alerted state and government agencies to Tamuz's work. Israel's Ministry for Environmental Protection stepped in and began to help fund the rescue operations. However, the cost of long-term care for the rescued animals was still an issue.
The solution to the problem eventually came in the form of a visit from the World Animal Protection organization. Seeing the great need for Tamuz's work, World Animal Protection stepped in to help. As a result, the Pegasus Society was born in 2007.
The Pegasus Society now runs its rescue and rehabilitation operations on the Susita Sanctuary in central Israel. The Society works closely with the National Traffic Police, the National Roads Association, municipal veterinarians, and the public.
At Susita, abused and neglected horses and donkeys, sometimes on the brink of death, receive lifesaving care and long-term rehabilitation. Once rehabilitated, some are rehomed, but many remain at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives.
The Pegasus Society isn't strictly limited to rescue and rehabilitation. Public education is a vital piece of the organization's work. Efforts to launch an educational campaign to teach Israel's youth about the proper treatment of horses and donkeys are underway.
Even in today's Israel, horses and donkeys continue to perform the same work they have for thousands of years. For as long as they remain a central part of day-to-day life, there will be a continuing need for rescue and rehabilitation work.
The Pegasus Society is a nonprofit organization that relies on the support of the public to continue its lifesaving efforts.
Interested in learning more about its incredible work on behalf of Israel's horses and donkeys? Check out the organization's official website.
Images from the YouTube video "Pegasus Society - Who are we?"