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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
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    115

    Default Recourse on neglected horse when animal control declines to investigate?

    Looking for some collective COTH wisdom -- can you do anything about a suffering horse when animal control declines to investigate? The horse in question is very old, laminitic and a body condition 1.5-2 out of 5. He's been declining for a while and spends a lot of time lying down. I drive past him 2 x per day. Today he was down and struggling weakly. Upon calling animal control, I was told that they have been out and the owners are keeping him comfortable until he passes.

    I tried to tell them that he looks to be suffering and the owner should at least be contacted but the woman at animal control implied that I was blowing things out of proportion and the horse was fine. He's not fine and I am concerned that he is going to have a slow and painful death.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am in Colorado if it makes a difference.
    TIA



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2007
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    85

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    I could not drive by a suffering animal every day...I feel your pain!! I would call the local humane society and ask them to check out the situation. If that doesn't work call the police, animal cruelty should be a crime in your state and if the horse is that thin sure sounds like neglect/cruelty to me.

    Maybe the owner is doing all they can?? I know I have kept animals past their "date" for the sole reason I couldn't bear to let them go..

    Please keep us posted!!!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
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    3,928

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    It sounds like animal control has already investigated, and they have found that the situation is acceptable. If they say they have been out and the owners are keeping him comfortable, there really isn't anything you can do.

    I lived in CO and had to deal with animal control on several occasions reporting neglected animals and I think to some degree it can depend on who you talk to. If you're really concerned then you may want to call again and see if you can get someone else, keep calm and just explain that you drive past it every day and you are concerned. If they have already been out it probably won't work, but you can try.

    It sounds like the horse should be put down if he is as bad as you described, but as long as he is provided with food, water, and appropriate medical care there is really nothing anyone but the owners can do.

    What county are you in?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003
    Location
    Alabama
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    5,506

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    Get the media involved! Call the newspaper and local network stations and appeal to them for help. Call the Sheriff's department (even though animal control is affiliated) and keep complaining. Maybe offer to buy the poor horse and have him euthed. Are there any equine rescuers nearby? Maybe contact some of them for some advice and help. Good luck and thanks for caring! People can be so cold and uncaring.
    PennyG



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
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    9,126

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    Yes. Call tv stations and newspapers.
    Get pix of the horses and deliver or fax or email them to the stations.
    The media people are you friends.
    Animal stories provide good press for the tv stations, and they usually cooperate with rescues.
    Any rescues around you can go to for help?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
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    NorthEast
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    24,601

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    You can also stop by and check with the owners too instead of bringing in the cavalry.
    If they have already checked and the horse is old with life ending issues and *is* being pain managed, then it's probably not pretty but probably not painful either. And if these people are going through the issues of slowly losing an old pet and are indeed doing as well as they can by it according to AC then it would be a real shame to have the media and everyone else jumping all over them. Sometimes the old and feeble look wobbly and struggle to get up or down...or lie down more often. Doesn;t necessarily equate to serious pain and suffering.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2006
    Location
    Larkspur, Colo.
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    5,075

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    What county are you in? Animal control in Colorado sucks.

    Unless it is a dog.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
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    3,928

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    As far as the media goes, I feel the same way as MB. I think trying to stir up a media circus because someone is having trouble dealing with their grief is pretty cold, actually. At least try to get all the details before crucifying the owners.

    I've seen some old horses who didn't look too good. I would put my horse down before he reached that point, but I can't deny that some of those that I saw seemed to be happy still.

    I doubt the CO media would care, anyway. They'll report on the big ones but otherwise I think they're too busy trying to make us think that Denver is the most violent city on the planet.

    OP, PM me if you want but if you can give me a more specific location (county is fine) I might be able to give you some contacts who can help you decide what to do.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2003
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    1,870

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    Quote Originally Posted by outwestPoloPlayer View Post
    Upon calling animal control, I was told that they have been out and the owners are keeping him comfortable until he passes. ..
    He's not fine and I am concerned that he is going to have a slow and painful death.
    TIA
    This is a perfectly plausible explanation: the horse is old and in twilight, and the owners are keeping him comfortable until he passes.

    This is where it ended being your business.

    Now are the owners being realistic? Are they in denial that it really is time for their old, dearly loved friend? Perhaps. Is the horse actually being pain managed well? Maybe, maybe not. It's NOT neglect and it's NOT your business. It's not what you would have chosen but it's also not your choice to make.

    Wouldn't you feel like the biggest piece of shit if you called down a storm on these people crying "NEGLECT!" only to have them produce vet records by the pound- and that they just hadn't mentally gotten to letting go? So you've just made their horribly wretching experience that much more awful.

    Some people push that threshold farther then it should go, but that's a personal choice and none of your business.
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by littleum View Post
    This is a perfectly plausible explanation: the horse is old and in twilight, and the owners are keeping him comfortable until he passes.

    This is where it ended being your business.

    Now are the owners being realistic? Are they in denial that it really is time for their old, dearly loved friend? Perhaps. Is the horse actually being pain managed well? Maybe, maybe not. It's NOT neglect and it's NOT your business. It's not what you would have chosen but it's also not your choice to make.

    Wouldn't you feel like the biggest piece of shit if you called down a storm on these people crying "NEGLECT!" only to have them produce vet records by the pound- and that they just hadn't mentally gotten to letting go? So you've just made their horribly wretching experience that much more awful.

    Some people push that threshold farther then it should go, but that's a personal choice and none of your business.
    But what if there's really something else going on, and the animal is just plain ol' not being fed? A very very old horse that no longer can hold weight is one thing, a very very old horse that's being starved because the owners don't want to feed it is entirely another.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  11. #11
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    NorthEast
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    Then you find out before calling out the national guard.
    The OP did call AC who told her they had been out and the horse was being kept comfortable until it passes.
    The OP has chosen to not accept this...and not saying she should accept it 100%...but there are options other than having a seige called on the property
    She can stop by the house and talk to the owners personally. Now I know a lot of people really really are not comfortable doing something like this. But IMO if you're willing to go above and beyond calling authorities then you should be willing to first find out if there's a reason to. And that's the time to screw up the courage and go by there and ask in a friendly way if there is anything you can do to help.
    It would be one thing if they had a paddock full of emaciated or badly injured horses..but one old horse having difficulty holding weight, laying down often and having a hard time getting up or down is usually *not* a reason to start Armageddon on the owners until the circumstances are definitely known. There are plenty of horses like that out there that are getting as much pain management as possible and their owners prefer to then let nature take it's course or wait longer. While that wouldn't be my decision...they're certainly allowed to make that decision for themselves.
    I just don't think it's a great idea to storm a property without getting all the facts first and I don't think it's a good idea at all to enforce a different style of horsekeeping upon others if there isn't illegal cruelty going on.
    If a person cares enough...they go find out personally. If they don't, they try to get others to do it for them before getting the facts. Hand wringing from a distance and then calling in the media without knowing the full story is a rotten thing to do and frankly I'm shocked at some of the suggestions the OP is getting.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
    Posts
    115

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    Just wanted to say thank you for all the suggestions. I will take them into account. In my defense, the fact that Animal Control has been out there repeatedly attests to the fact that this horse does not look good (I have only called once, so obviously others have been calling too). I do not expect everyone to conform to my ideal standard of horse care but I also can't continue to drive past the horse without trying to see if he could be made more comfortable.

    As far as the horse being kept comfortable until he dies, that would be ideal. My concern is that it isn't happening. And before anyone accuses me of not knowing what I'm talking about, I am a veterinary student so I do know a bit about pain management. And what I see in this horse does not fit into the acceptable pain model.

    Again, thank you for the varying opinions.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
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    3,310

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    Quote Originally Posted by littleum View Post
    This is a perfectly plausible explanation: the horse is old and in twilight, and the owners are keeping him comfortable until he passes.

    This is where it ended being your business.

    Now are the owners being realistic? Are they in denial that it really is time for their old, dearly loved friend? Perhaps. Is the horse actually being pain managed well? Maybe, maybe not. It's NOT neglect and it's NOT your business. It's not what you would have chosen but it's also not your choice to make.

    Wouldn't you feel like the biggest piece of shit if you called down a storm on these people crying "NEGLECT!" only to have them produce vet records by the pound- and that they just hadn't mentally gotten to letting go? So you've just made their horribly wretching experience that much more awful.

    Some people push that threshold farther then it should go, but that's a personal choice and none of your business.
    I agree with this completely.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2003
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    1,900

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    Maybe Fat Palomino could give you some advice. She does rescue in CO.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    1,316

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    You can't tell from a passing car if the horse fits "the acceptable pain model" or not. And being a vet student really does not cut a lot of dice with most people, I'm afraid especially when you make claims like that and try to dress them up with technical terms.

    People keep old animals alive longer than they should sometimes, and it's sad but it's really not your business at this point. And often the animal is is some pain but still enjoys life and it's a tough call. If you're going to be a vet you'll see a lot of it so get used to it.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2008
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
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    557

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    find a different route to drive or volunteer your services. And don't be surprised when the owners not so politely tell you where to go.
    Proud Mama of a BOY rider



  17. #17
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    22,446

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    Well, the fact that Animal Control has received a number of complaints really doesn't mean anything.

    There are folks who have many complaints lodged because of the "blindfolds" they keep on the horses. After a while AC just ignores calls about those horses as obviously they're not blindfolded.

    In December I called Animal Control on what I thought was an abandoned dog tied next to a house that had recently caught on fire and partially burned. There was no one living in the house. The dog looked in good flesh but it had been out there for days. It had a shed but it was very cold out so and I was very worried.

    AC called and said yes, there had been many many calls about the dog and they had been out there several times and would not go out again. The dog was ok.

    I felt comfortable pressing him a wee bit for details as I'm acquainted with the ACO. He said the farmer across the street had opened his home to the victims of the fire but could not accommodate the dog. The owners were going to visit the dog several times a day, provide food and warm water, and the shed was stuffed full of straw and blankets and had a raised floor.

    What I could have done was call the media, threaten people, scream, shout about dog abuse, or gotten hysterical.

    About a week later those folks found a place to stay and the dog went with them.

    Interesting historical note - the house that burned was a whorehouse during the Civil War.

    Anyway - I applaud you for your concern about the horse, and for the caring demonstrated by the people who also called Animal Control. I'm not discounting the possibility that AC is wrong... just that the situation may not always be as dire as we think.



    Quote Originally Posted by outwestPoloPlayer View Post
    Just wanted to say thank you for all the suggestions. I will take them into account. In my defense, the fact that Animal Control has been out there repeatedly attests to the fact that this horse does not look good (I have only called once, so obviously others have been calling too).



  18. #18
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    Mar. 7, 2005
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    It sounds like the horse should be put down if he is as bad as you described, but as long as he is provided with food, water, and appropriate medical care there is really nothing anyone but the owners can do.
    Have you thought about going to the owners and talking to them about the horse? They may not be able to afford the euthanasia and maybe you could offer to pay that for them????
    If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    Location
    summerville GA
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    This is just so interesting. Ok so please, give us the horses body score in the Henneke form. I didnt quite understand 1.5-2 out of 5. If I doubled that, the horse would be in acceptable condition.

    Kindness will always go a lot further than the cavalry. Clearly, the easy route would be to simply get rid of there problem and these people have chosen not to. Especially given the number of apparent calls. They must love the horse to some degree.

    If this horse were not being fed or cared for, at her obvious age, she would not have survived a Colorado winter and would fail very quickly.

    Sometimes letting go is just too hard or an owner doesnt see the problem like you do. They may well see there horse in a different light altogether. Eg, excitement at being fed, still able to come in for inclement weather, happy to see its owner and still asking for pats and cuddling. You see this old folk only in passing. How was it all winter and did you see it then?

    Twice a week, minimum, I have people stop at my house for a dead horse. They see her blown knees and go awwwwwwwwwwwwww, shouldnt you put her down. Answer, hell NO. Darlin loves life. She loves to be the boss of her little herd and control things such as were they move to. She loves to be groomed, fed by hand, scritched and sometimes, even the attention she gets for her issues. Darlin lives a very very good life and is far from ready to go even though, to those who see her only in passing, it may look a whole lot different.

    go and meet these people. Clearly, they are not uncaring or that horse would be dead long ago.

    You may be surprised to find out just how far they are going to keep it comfy. If all you think after that is true, then offer your assistance and if it is not accepted, call in the cavalry.
    Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

    Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement



  20. #20
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    Jan. 31, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    You can also stop by and check with the owners too instead of bringing in the cavalry.
    If they have already checked and the horse is old with life ending issues and *is* being pain managed, then it's probably not pretty but probably not painful either. And if these people are going through the issues of slowly losing an old pet and are indeed doing as well as they can by it according to AC then it would be a real shame to have the media and everyone else jumping all over them. Sometimes the old and feeble look wobbly and struggle to get up or down...or lie down more often. Doesn;t necessarily equate to serious pain and suffering.
    Unless you have good reason to believe they will shoot you on the porch, I really think this is what I would do under the circumstances. I'd just say something to the effect that I've noticed your guy is getting close to passing and wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help, having been there myself. See what unfolds from there.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    ---
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.



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