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Rafael, horse rescued from Mexico, dies at Grass Valley sanctuary

Rafael: A journey of the heart

Rescued from the streets of Juárez, Mexico, a horse named Rafael retired to the pastures of Grass Valley.
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Rescued from the streets of Juárez, Mexico, a horse named Rafael retired to the pastures of Grass Valley.

An abused horse rescued from the streets of Juárez, Mexico, last year and transported to a sanctuary in Grass Valley has died.

The horse, named Rafael, died of a kidney condition at the Center for Animal Protection & Education this week, 10 months after his arrival at the sanctuary, said the group’s executive director, J.P. Novic.

“Rafi passed away while surrounded by his loving friends at CAPE,” Novic said. “We are heartbroken.”

Rafael suffered from irreversible kidney disease, malnutrition and other serious health issues he acquired while working as a beast of burden in Juárez, where he pulled overloaded carts through the streets, said Novic. At the time of his rescue, the group said, he had injuries from beatings and a harness that had become embedded in his skin. He was nearly too weak to stand.

The nonprofit group has been rescuing elderly, injured and abused animals since 1992. After learning of Rafael’s plight, CAPE raised $6,000 for his care and transportation to California. A petition drive organized by CAPE sought to improve standards for working horses, mules and donkeys in Mexico, and Rafael was the face of that effort.

The Rafael Memorial Fund has been established to rescue and provide care of other horses. For information or to donate, go to http://www.capeanimals.org/#rafael-memorial-fund/nyhbz.

Cynthia Hubert: 916-321-1082, @Cynthia_Hubert

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