Am posting this on the behalf of a FB group that is campaigning to change the laws to help horses/animals in Illinois who are being starved/abused.
They are looking to gather information about other states animal humane care laws for comparisons, and find out whether or not people believe their states humane care laws are effective. Please feel free to share information or opinions on your states animal humane care laws. You can post your comments here or directly to their FB page here http://www.facebook.com/ActForTemptation
They have been attacking all kinds of livestock farming from all angles, just had a few important battles that they thankfully lost, that were making impossible to raise livestock, partly by putting themselves as the ones regulating what was proper care or not.
Be sure you know what all is going to be asked for, read the small print in any bill and study what the consequences may be, immediate and future ones.
Don't let animal rights groups get a foot in the door.
Their agendas are eliminating all use of animals, eventually, one little bit at the time.
That includes HORSES.
Why my warnings?
I heard Illinois was one of their next targets.
To clarify, this isn't some animal rights crazies or HSUS campaign. I don't know exact details but I do know the people involved in the situation, long story short, this very nice mare was supposed to be going to a good home, the lady who took her starved her to death within months, as well as several other horses (I believe 3 dead), and was still allowed to keep the horses she had because based on the Illinois humane laws, the horses "technically" had food, water and shelter, despite the fact that it was not enough and the horses were starving to death. The woman pretty much walked away and continues to own horses.
How many times have we seen this sort of thing happen, where people can get away with starving a horse to death because of the looseness of the laws? They are simply trying to get the law to be more specific, like including body scores, etc. This is much needed change. I have personally dealt with similar situations, where a horse was starving to death but I could do nothing legally and the law wouldn't do a thing either. I'm on this FB page because I know some of the people involved (respected WB people and breeders in the area-not HSUS nuts) and they asked if somebody could post on COTH and get some peoples opinions about the laws in their states.
Just be sure where any offers of help may come from, if your drive takes off.
We have the same problem here, that laws are trying to protect owner's rights to manage their animals as they may, while setting minimum sensible care standards.
You may want to ask Cowgirljenn, that runs Bluebonnet and knows the ins and outs of animal control laws better than most.
PM her for information, as she is in the trenches herself, when it comes to just that, avoid abuse and educate on good care.
in CT, I think it depends on what county you live in. In one case, I know of a person who had many calls made to Animal control/humane society, all she had to do was put out hay (even moldy) and water, and they would go back and check a couple of weeks later, then that was that. she had many animals starve to death, and NEVER was held accountable, to my knowledge. still has horses.
in another case, different county, a horse was probably a 1.5 - 2 on the scale. I called the police, officer met me at the property, then HE called in the rest of the property folks. Horse was seized, as well as another on that property ( a boarding facility) AND they found out she had two more at another property, those were also seized. so, one phone call, all four horses found homes where they were taken care of and fed.
When I was in law school one of our professors routinely reminded us that "no man's life, liberty, or property was safe when the legislature is in session."
There have been a bunch of initiatives all over the U.S. ranging from a virtual "owner’s manual" (put out by UCDavis and suggested as the CA legal standard of care) to the very laissez faire practices of the West and Southeast.
It’s very easy to become free with other people’s money when discussing standards of equine care. Horses are not puppies or kittens; few in the “animal welfare world” understand that. I learned this disturbing fact the hard way, doing five years as the VP of our local county humane society. Many equine welfare initiatives veer dangerously towards making horses “companion animals” vice “livestock.” If the “animal welfare advocates” are often ignorant of things equine then the legislators they are approaching are even more so. The folks mentioned, above, have pretty well demonstrated that they have their “heads screwed on straight.” Not everyone who plies these waters is so well oriented.
Avoid HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA like the plague that they are.
Horses are chattels. They are property. We must be very careful that any State intervention in the management of this property is carefully limited. It should be permitted if, but only if, that State mandated management is necessary to ensure public health, safety, or welfare.
Per the Illinois state government website, it looks like owners are required by law to provide "sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water". The law does not say that if -any- food or water is present that nothing can be done. Owners can be charged if they don't provide enough food.
NOW you can get into arguments about what's sufficient, but that's normally where experts (veterinarians, nutritionists, trained animal control personnel) come into play.
Texas' law is fairly similar - except it uses the word 'adequate'. We've had counties remove animals when there was food on the property, but it either wasn't being fed at all, enough of it wasn't being fed, or it was very poor quality.
I know that laws often seem vague, and I have said before I want better definitions in some areas of neglect/cruelty laws. However there's always going to be a subjective aspect to the law - because you can't legislate that each horse needs 2% of its body weight in feed per day. I have a horse here who would explode if he got that much food. He's fat on air. And then my 27 year old horse would look like a skeleton if that's all the food he got per day. Words like 'adequate' or 'sufficient' help set up the situation where I'm not in trouble for NOT feeding Tocho 2% of his weight in food per day when he doesn't need it. But that I COULD get in trouble if I didn't feed Magic MORE than 2% of his weight in food per day.
If you are concerned about how the case with these horses was handled, see if you can talk to the authorities involved. Offer to help them in future cases (without being judgmental) and see if other factors were at play in this case. Making the law tougher isn't always the right answer...