Casey Montana has a calling on her life: to save as many horses and donkeys from the slaughter pipeline as possible. “We can’t save them all,” Casey said, “but we can change the lives of the few we do.”
The mission at WarAngel Farms Rescue and Rehabilitation is to be good stewards of God’s animals here on earth by rescuing, rehabilitating and finding forever homes for the ones that come into its care. The organization brings hope to animals that have no hope and helps those that have gone through unimaginable circumstances. Even though the main focus is on rescuing horses and donkeys, animals of all kinds, including goats, reptiles, alpacas and cows, are welcome on WarAngel’s 104-acre farm and are available for sponsorship.
WarAngel’s founder, Casey Montana, grew up on this family farm at 199 WarAngel Farms Way in Canton. To understand how WarAngel began, it helps to learn a bit about the slaughter industry. Horse (and donkey) slaughter is illegal in the United States, so horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada, where there are very few regulations. Horses of every age and type are brought to auctions. Killbuyers purchase any horse that goes for below meat price then take their purchases to a holding pen. This is where the WarAngel staff members step in and try to buy (save) as many animals as they can before the ship dates to Mexico or Canada.
Life for animals in these lots is inhumane. They are thrown into a pen with hundreds of horses, fighting for their food and their life. They get beat up and sick. It’s especially hard on the old ones that never should have been taken to the auctions in the first place. They run on so much adrenaline trying to survive, and when they finally arrive at WarAngel Farms and feel safe, their body often can’t hold on any longer. “We try to save every horse/donkey we bail from the pens, but we also believe in dignity in death and the last act of kindness, if needed,” Casey said.
Knowing these slaughter pens exist inspired Casey to rescue her first horse, Mr. Bojangles, in 2016. He was exhausted and extremely sick from his time in the pens, and three months to the day, his battle to survive ended. Casey was heartbroken, and with her mom Sandy’s blessing, she opened up the family farm to serve others by starting a petting zoo. “After working hard for a few years to grow and improve the farm to receive more rescued animals, WarAngel Farms Rescue and Rehabilitation was officially launched as a nonprofit in 2020,” Casey said. “My mom and I work together to run the rescue, along with the help of many wonderful volunteers.”
Bethany Thomas has been visiting WarAngel Farms for eight years. “I can’t imagine my life without this family and their animals in my life,” she said. “The minute I drive onto the property, a quiet sense of peace comes over me, and worries of the day disappear. During these eight years of friendship, their family farm has turned into a nonprofit rescue. They have given me the opportunity to participate in saving abused or neglected horses and donkeys from slaughter. There is no way to explain the joy that comes in knowing you are helping save lives.”
If you would like to find out more about WarAngel Farms, schedule a themed photo shoot or ladies’ night out, attend artsy animal camp, take a private tour or sign up for the Run Your Bundts Off! 5K on Oct. 22 at Etowah River Park (runsignup.com/bundtscanton). To donate and learn more, visit warangelfarms.com, call 770-317-8476 or email email@example.com. The organization is 100% volunteer-run, meaning all donations go directly to saving animals.