Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Jacque White greets Sweet Soul, a 20-year-old draft mule she rescued from a kill pen in Pennsylvania, on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at her home off of Kalifornski Beach Road.

Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Jacque White greets Sweet Soul, a 20-year-old draft mule she rescued from a kill pen in Pennsylvania, on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at her home off of Kalifornski Beach Road.

Woman moves mule cross country through equine rescue network

When Jacque White came across a greying draft mule on a Facebook page dedicated to relocating large animals sent to “kill pens,” she said she couldn’t stand to think of what would happen if she didn’t step in.

Several weeks, more than 5,000 miles and thousands of dollars later, the draft mule from Pennsylvania is acclimating to his new home in her back yard off of Kalifornsky Beach Road.

White has donated money to relocate two other work animals before they could be slaughtered, and has become connected to a “whole slew of people who are rescuers” — a network of equine advocates who devote their time to finding homes for the animals that are no longer wanted or useful.

At 20 years old, the mule, who White has named Sweet Soul, still has several years ahead, as some draft mules can live to be up to 35 years old, she said.

White discovered him on a Facebook page called Moore’s Equines For Rescue, run by volunteers who visit a pen in Pennsylvania and post pictures of mules, horses and other equines in the hopes that an animal lover can step in and take over ownership.

“It’s all on Facebook, so that’s how I got started on it,” White said. “I have all these mule and donkey people, and then I have all these rescue people that save animals.”

The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act signed into law in 2005 banned the use of funding provided by the act for inspecting horses. In 2007, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also ruled that it was illegal for horse slaughterhouses to pay the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their own horse meat inspections.

Since then, horse slaughterhouses in the country with the purpose of providing meat for human consumption have shut down.

White said animals being held at kill pens are often sent to either Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered. Most are old work animals that are past their useful lives on a farm, but White said she has come across younger horses on the rescue Facebook pages she monitors as well.

To simply purchase or “bail out” an animal set for slaughter is relatively simple, White said. Taking over ownership of Sweet Soul cost only $800.

To get the mule from Pennsylvania to the central Kenai Peninsula, however, was much more difficult.

For starters, the animal had to be quarantined and treated by a veterinarian for several weeks after being around all the other animals at the pen, where he could have picked up a disease or virus, White said.

“He had a bad case of lice, so that was one of the other issues,” White said, adding that she paid to have his teeth and hooves taken care of as well.

White called on a few friends in the equestrian community, who in turn connected her to people and organizations who dedicate their time to moving the rescued animals across the country.

Sweet Soul went from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, and then on to Montana where he stayed with a friend of White’s. From there he was taken to Palmer where he rested before making the final stretch to White’s home, where he arrived on Saturday.

“He’s gone over 5,300 miles and through many, many hands,” White said.

White already owns a donkey, Dixie, and a mule, Dexter. For now, the two are separated from the newcomer by some extra fencing White bought, and she will allow them to be in the same pen in about a week.

By their second day together, however, the three seemed more comfortable and friendly, she said.

White said it is easy to get involved in the equine rescue community.

Alaska has its own organization that deals with rescuing animals within the state, which is called the Alaska Equine Rescue based in the Anchorage area.

Reach Megan Pacer at



More in News

A cruise ship is docked in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Cruise passengers encouraged to test before docking in Seward

The request comes as new COVID cases are increasing in Alaska

In this July 13, 2007, photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing restrictions that would hinder plans for a copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. It is the latest in a long-running dispute over efforts by developers to advance a mine in a region known for its salmon runs. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
Restrictions proposed in Pebble Mine fight

Critics of the project called the move an important step in a yearslong fight to stop the mine

Armands Veksejs, Hager Elserry, Dady Thitisakulwong, and Haewon Hong attend a farewell potluck barbecue in Nikiski on Monday, May 23, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A life in a year’

Foreign exchange students receive send-off in Nikiski

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Ninilchik River and Deep Creek to open sport fishing

Sport fishing will be open for three upcoming weekends

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, stands in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Micciche will not seek reelection

His announcement comes a week after the end of the 32nd Alaska Legislature

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska redistricting board picks new Senate map after Supreme Court finds a gerrymander

The board could continue work and possibly write a different map for the elections from 2024 onward

A landslide blocks Lowell Point Road in Seward, Alaska, on Sunday, May 8, 2022. (Photo courtesy City of Seward)
Lowell Point Road to reopen Friday

Intermittent blasting work will continue next week

Members of the Kenai City Council participate in a council meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Boys and girls clubs land donation postponed

The issue will be back before the body on June 1

Most Read