The Pegasus Society was founded by Zvika Tamuz of “Moked Hay” (“living hotline”), who has been rescuing animals since 1993.
Zvika has been raising horses for more than twenty years. In 2004 he became aware of the phenomenon of donkey and horse abuse in Israel, ever since different animal welfare organizations began referring him cases involving these animals, knowing that he had the know-how and the place to care for them, since he kept horses of his own.
News that somebody takes care of horses and donkeys spread quickly. The National Traffic Police, the National Roads Association and municipal vets, who did not know what to do with these animals, also took this opportunity and began calling Zvika every time they encountered stray horses or donkeys wandering alone in traffic.
With the price of iron going up, many residents of the occupied territories began appearing in the border area of the Sharon plain, collecting (and quite often stealing) scrap iron. That marked a new era in terms of the numbers and physical condition of horses, and a wave of calls from residents of that area – Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Hod HaSharon etc. – appalled by the sight of donkeys and horses, emaciated and wounded, pulling carts piled high with very large and heavy loads of scrap iron, beaten by their owners to keep them going, and many simply collapsing on the street, unable to go on.
The different animal welfare societies who received these calls referred them to Zvika Tamuz.
In August of 2006 Ms. Eti Altman, spokesperson of the “Let the Animals Live” organization, wrote to several government and state agencies, alerting them to the grave hardships endured by horses and donkeys in Israel (see letter) and demanding of the government to take responsibility for the rescue operations and for the expensive upkeep of these animals, which until then were paid for by Zvika Tamuz from his own pocket.
The Ministry for Environmental Protection began funding the rescue operations of donkeys and horses, but there still remained the problem of keeping them the long rehabilitation periods they required.
There was an urgent need for an organization that would take care of the donkeys and horses in Israel.
Tens of horses and donkeys were rescued by Zvika, at all hours of the day and night, seven days a week. No report of a horse or a donkey in distress was left unattended to. The fear that the owners would try stealing them back or harm them in any way prevented Zvika from making public the rescue stories, and he emphatically asked the policemen to never divulge his name or address.
In May of 2007 a team of the International WSPA came to Israel on a visit and was taken by Ms Rivi Meier, founder of The Society for Cats in Israel, to visit Zvika Tamuz’s ranch. This unplanned visit provided the basis for founding the Pegasus Society.
In collaboration with WSPA the Pegasus Society started on a new path with a vision of establishing an educational center and a visitors’ center that would convey the message of protecting these animals and supply the tools that would enable the general public to identify states of distress in horses and donkeys.
In the sanctuary run by the Pegasus society, Susita, these animals are being rehabilitated, physically and mentally. Some of the horses and donkeys remain at the sanctuary for the rest of their lives and are awarded the status of permanent residents.
One of the upcoming projects the Pegasus Society intends to launch in the near future is an educational program, in the Jewish and Arab sectors alike, with the intention of passing on to the younger generation the message of compassion and caring for animals.
We hope that you will continue visiting our site and take part in our cause – the care for horses and donkeys in Israel.