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  1. #1
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    Jun. 20, 2010
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    Default ColoredCowHorse's horses seized?

    From her Facebook:

    Long long story.....end result.....34 horses taken without search warrant, without seizure warrant, no show cause that I can clearly see. Deputies came in with statement that they would help in getting an old, ill horse put down....local vet refused care unless I had full amount in hand (his office staff...he didn't talk with me directly..."busy, he can't take call" from staff).

    Horse was ill last winter, got better, got sick again, got better, moved, did not tolerate being confined in pen (used to 20 acres and running in bachelor herd with buddies), got sick again, mild colic (treated for possible sand..new place is a sand pile), got better, sore front foot, blew abscess out of coronet, got better, got sore again, treated with epsom salt soaks, antibiotics, bute, omeprazole for possible ulcers, lots of feed (eating approx 30 lbs alfalfa a day in hay plus sr feed, calf manna, oil)....began loosing wt seriously about mid July.

    Decision made early Aug to put him down as soon as I had money to do so....on radio classifieds trying to sell stuff, find extra work etc, horses on there as well and on Dreamhorse, Craigslist etc....no buyers anywhere. Deputy out July 1 on anonymous complaint and found no neglect....one or two slightly thin (including sick older horse and two that had strangles prior to moving down here and two that had sand colicked almost on arrival here) and some yearlings with needed hoof trims....needed help in doing them as they arent yet trained to stand tied and nothing here really strong enough to risk them pulling back against).

    Said he did followups a couple times and saw no changes that looked like neglect but did not come on property to see pens (not visible from road) could only see pasture with binoculars. Sister died in Aug. and that took some time/attention/money.

    Buying 40 bales (105-110 lbs each or slightly more) a week......around 4200-4400 lbs of hay a week...nice alfalfa. Feeding 34 head an average of about 640 lbs a day (some are yearlings and most adults are 14.2 sized so not 1100-1200 lb animals). On 9/6 I got home to a note from deputy (placed on house door....had to climb over fence....gate locked) that they had an anonymous complaint regarding horses and please call.

    I did so. Told that they would be out to see in the a.m. When they got here they said they understood that there was a sick animal...I said yes, that I was trying to gather the $ to put him down, that $ resources were somewhat depleted by having to buy generator, pump and pressure tank for well and for sisters final expenses and they said they had resources and could help me.

    Came in, looked at all horses (still a few thin ones.....had been sand treated, pulled out of herd and were being fed extra to regain lost wt....and 3 that needed feet done...helper on vacation and would help upon return in several more days at end of the weekend). Said they would have vet out to help with putting old stud down. I agreed and gave verbal permission. Vet called....same one whose office refused services more than a month earlier (only one full time large animal vet clinic here....one other that comes in occasionally and I wasn't aware of him at that time).

    Vet did NOT put the horse down, did not do hands on assessement of horses, said entire herd malnourished and recommended impounding all. I got as many photos as I could but ran out of battery power. Loaded them (including sick guy) into stock trailer and hauled them about 5 miles away to sales yard. Took until about 10pm and they hauled mares with stallions, long yearling colts/fillies together, were going to haul adult breeding stallions together as well.

    No receipt, no charges of neglect, no arrest. Sunday a deputy came by and gave me a notice of seizure listing the horses with very brief descriptions (some so vague as to not be able to ID the horse and including the description of a gelding....there was no gelding here.....and a roan mare...no roans here.....descriptions via NV Dept of Ag brand inspectors. Notice included info that the horses were at the sales yard where a $5/head/day board fee was being charged under a "limited lien" (only thing I can find says they can only charge board for up to 14 days).

    Notice said a hearing scheduled on Wed, 9/12 to determine if the horses were to be sold, put to sleep or turned over to an officer to do with as he saw fit. Says the cause of seizure was the horses were malnourished and in poor environment. Notice was not dated or timed regarding service....I insisted the officer do so and he reluctantly did it (and signed) when I pointed out that without date/time of service I could claim I didn't get it at all....or just hours before the hearing.

    On Tuesday, 9/11, a deputy again climbed over my fence to present me (I was in the house which sits about 300 feet back from the road/gate, reading a book and cooling off after doing some outdoor work...scared the bejesus out of me when he banged on the door) with a form requesting my permission to have the old stallion put down. I told him I couldn't give permission as it was not clear if I still owned the horses or not since the brand inspectors were on site on Friday when they were taken....brand inspection is used for a change in ownership here.

    Told him they had my permission, in fact, had my request that the horse be put down on Friday and the vets statement it was needed immediately....that they had held off doing this for 4 days in order to accomplish it on the day the sale yard is open to the public and doing so on Tues would garner them a lot of publicity....that they needed to go to the court for a court order to put him down.

    Wed. 9/12 was the hearing....at this they claimed that the horses were starved and in poor condition, that the pond on the property was not adequate for watering the field horses (never mind that horses have lived there and drank from that pond for over 20 years), that the 2 12x12 pens with single horses in them were too small, that the other pens (ranging from 12x16, 12x22, 12x 24 and 18x24) were also too small and that having three yearlings (remember that these are horses that mature to 14.2 or 14.3) in a 12 x 24 was far too crowded.

    They claimed no hay (there were photos of 14 bales ), no feed (two 33 gallon garbage cans with sr feed in one, alfalfa pellets in the other) and that the chewed on 20+ year old fence posts were evidence that the horses were eating wood due to starvation. I was still not charged with anything. I asked for more time to find legal assistance. Was accidently given a copy of photos that they took....they took no photos of any of the hroses in good condition..none, not a single one.

    Got a one week extension to today. Taking a short break....back in a few minutes.

    3:15pmExpand
    Show ImagesDorothy Robertson

    OK....today......hearing to determine if horses should be sold, put down, handed to an officer to do as he sees fit. Still no charges against me. Threw them a slight curve last week with info that two of the horses they took were leased by me. During the week I found a number of things. One is that the ONLY neighbor who can see my back field and pens is also one who has tried to divert water from the ditch that feeds the pond (it is run off/tail water from irrigation system) to water his back 5 acres and raise a herd of meat goats (he has no irrigation rights....what you need to have..ie...pay for...to irrigate more than maybe a yard sized patch)....and his wife works for sheriff's dispatch.

    He CLAIMS he nor wife are behind this and that in fact his wife just accidently heard a discussion at a restaurant in Reno (60 miles away) from a woman at a table behind her saying she had been to Fallon to see some horses for sale and they were all starving to death.....wife reportedly turned and asked "where in Fallon" and was given my location. Interesting....I've had no women from Reno and only one woman at all out to see horses in the last 2 months.

    There is a religious group here whose members hold many if not most e positions of authority including high positions in sheriffs office, many other spots, justice of the peace, judges etc. My neighbor is also a member. Don't know if that's significant or not. During the week I tried to get an attorney....was told that since I had no charges filed against me there really wasn't a case for them to take on.

    Also told my one that this sort of thing would never happen to him "because my family has been here for over 100 years and the law is not equally enforced here".....that's a quote. Got some photos of the horses yesterday....and they are running a 3 1/2 year stallion and 3 long yearling stallions with the mares and long yearling fillies. Deputies today couldn't remember a lot of stuff, had only their opinion (and no training) regarding whether or not horses were neglected.

    Was told by Justice of the Peace and assistant DA that since I had no attorney and was acting in my own defence (for what? no charges filed!) I would have immunity for anything I said. I took this as an offer to become meek and mild and apologetic and cry some and maybe get some of my animals back. Not happening.

    So....it got interesting with lots of stuff....vet couldn't remember any of the horses that were above a 3 unless I could refresh his memory with a photo (they didn't take any and I ran out of battery early on in this and the ones taken yesterday at the sales yard were "too far away, I can't tell what condition they are in"). Vet admitted that a horse that sand colicked could loose dramatic amounts of wt and that after treatment and refeeding it could take several months for them to regain and that that situation was not neglect.

    He didn't know when the old horse was put down or which vet in the clinic did so but admitted that something like cancer, internal abscesses from strangles or pigeon fever (both of which the stud had within the last 8-9 months), ulcers (possibly from confinement), foot abscesses etc could cause wt loss. Also claimed the horse was badly foundered in both front feet with rotation but no photos, no x-rays to prove it. Lots more stuff but upshot is that they are offering the horses to NE Horse Rescue (Elko, NV area I think) and those that don't go there will be sold at the next available sale (could be later this afternoon or next Tues).

    When I was asked for a "final statement from the defence" I again pointed out I had not been charged with anything but that this hearing had apparently been a trial in front of a justice of the peace over whether or not my horses were neglected.

    This JP by the way, was previously a sheriffs dept employee.....in charge of the jail. And is running for office. When I asked the jp if the lien holder was going to follow the NRS regarding foreclosure of a board lien (has some notification and time line requirements) he slammed his gavel down and said that court was adjourned.

    Feel free to cross post this anywhere possible. This occured in Churchill County, NV, under sheriff Trotter and JP Mike Richards. The vet involved was Dr David Faught (trained at Washington State) of Lahontan Valley Vet Clinic. He testified that he didn't have to do a hands on assessment of animals to determine body condition score, could not give the name of the developer of the BCS and said that "eyes on" is sufficient.
    Those of us following the case are pretty certain these (NOT the black/white paint - that is not her horse) are her horses.

    http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines...169555346.html

    ~ The Goat Whisperer
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  2. #2
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    skinny white and horribly skinny paint...
    Ok, I can see that.

    I can also see the one with the elf shoes. I am not sure if that is the same one that is head bobbing lame (which could have happened any time, no)



    Quote Originally Posted by fargaloo View Post
    Do you not understand how asking "why now?" is EXACTLY part of the reason why assault victims feel silenced?



  3. #3
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    Aug. 30, 2011
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    Massachusetts
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    Ugh. The grey in the photo isn't just kinda thin, its pretty emaciated. The rest of the horses (other than the downer) they showed look pretty good other than their feet.

    Not sure how I feel. Hate to see an Cother fall on bad times, but geez. Wish she could have reached out or sold some before it got to this point.



  4. #4
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    Mar. 27, 2008
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    Was the downed horse dead?? The video kept stopping and starting and I never saw its sides move. That one was in bad shape. Most of the others I would describe as just "rough" - but nothing too alarming.
    The dead lame yearling was pretty hard to watch.
    Last edited by GotGait; Sep. 20, 2012 at 12:40 AM.
    You are what you dare.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 18, 2011
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    That downed horse looked dead to me and the reported mentioned it being euthanized. Maybe that was the old stallion with all the issues talked about in the FB post?



  6. #6
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    There are a few too many excuses for my liking in that story. The photos look bad. Between the elf shoes, the dead lame yearling, and the two totally emaciated ones- I'm not going to fault the government for taking the rest away as well. It's upsetting if it wasn't done in a legal way, and if she wasn't given a chance to tell her side of the story.


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  7. #7
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    Okay, I've been to her place quite a long time ago. I don't remember the b/w Paint but the others look like hers.

    She had told me quite a while ago, she was trying to sell a lot off and no buyers. She had sold one or two but then the buyers came back and wanted their money back. She had already spent the money on feed, I think. Or it might have been they had made several payments and then wanted what they had paid back. It's been quite a while since I talked to her last. I think she even took one or more back when some out-and-out buyers couldn't take care of nor ride the horses, not quite sure on that story any more.

    I don't think anything was gelded, it was a stud pasture across the road from her house. She had quite a few nursing mares and foals. Then the two and three year olds in pens in front of her house. I don't know if they were broke or not, don't remember. Seems like, there was a four year old in there too, not broke, kinda small.

    Hate to say it but they were on the thin side but she was trying to sell some and winnow the herd down. She was looking for hay, any type, just needed some hay. No hay to be found even if she had money. Just no buyers with money. At the time, I was driving our big rig and didn't need a horse, although I did think about one stud horse who'd make a nice gelding but she said someone was interested in him. Since I didn't need a horse at the time, I let the idea drop of my buying him. I'm pretty sure someone in Winnemucca/Elko/Reno was going to take some for starting u/s.

    Sad to see it's come to this. She said someone had been bothering her about the horses but wouldn't do it face to face, just they'd call the cops and let the chips fall where they may.
    Last edited by goneriding24; Sep. 19, 2012 at 11:56 PM. Reason: .
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!



  8. #8
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    Feb. 21, 2007
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    Just for clarification--and correct me if I'm wrong--the black and white paint was another horse seized in the county previously, not associated with this incident or owner.
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch



  9. #9
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    Sep. 19, 2012
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    I agree, the grey did look malnourished but many of the others were around 3 on the body-score scale.. It does look like a few of them had feet issues that needed urgent treatment... I'm not sure how I feel either, I hate seeing animals in a neglected state, which the feet issue is definitely a sign of.. but the video didn't quite back up what she is being accused of imo.


    Quote Originally Posted by Judysmom View Post
    Ugh. The grey in the photo isn't just kinda thin, its pretty emaciated. The rest of the horses (other than the downer) they showed look pretty good other than their feet.

    Not sure how I feel. Hate to see an Cother fall on bad times, but geez. Wish she could have reached out or sold some before it got to this point.



  10. #10
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    I believe that's correct, the black ad white was NOT her horse.

    Quote Originally Posted by seabreeze View Post
    Just for clarification--and correct me if I'm wrong--the black and white paint was another horse seized in the county previously, not associated with this incident or owner.



  11. #11
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    Feb. 2, 2003
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    Iowa, USA
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    What was the reasoning behind hauling them to the sale barn? Is there a better explanation other than trying to hide them? or Get some quick money from kill buyers before losing custody?
    The litany of excuses (not-my-fault!!! none of it!!! not sure but i think it's a religious water-stealing cult!!) does not persuade me that the seizure was unjust. I feel sorry for the owner, but sure seems like they needed to be re-homed no matter what.



  12. #12
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    Sometimes when you're really close to the situation you lose perspective. I don't know the circumstances, but these days it is really getting easier to slip when you're struggling to survive every day. Well at least if the horses needed care they'll get it now.

    I have to say that the shot of the overgrown hoof was pretty horrible. You can't explain that away like you could potentially for a skinny, older, horse.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  13. #13
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    She didn't haul them to the sale barn, the county did. Doesn't sound the county followed any rules/laws/regulation for seizing them. Water is a big deal in parts of the west especially in areas where it is scarce.

    There has been no market for her horses...she's been trying to sell. What to you want to bet most of these horses end up on a truck southbound thanks to the county?
    Last edited by BasqueMom; Sep. 20, 2012 at 01:12 AM. Reason: complete sentence



  14. #14
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    It's sad, but brace yourself, it's not near as bad as it's going to get. We're going to see more and more of this before things get better I'm afraid.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by goneriding24 View Post
    Okay, I've been to her place quite a long time ago. I don't remember the b/w Paint but the others look like hers.

    She had told me quite a while ago, she was trying to sell a lot off and no buyers. She had sold one or two but then the buyers came back and wanted their money back. She had already spent the money on feed, I think. Or it might have been they had made several payments and then wanted what they had paid back. It's been quite a while since I talked to her last. I think she even took one or more back when some out-and-out buyers couldn't take care of nor ride the horses, not quite sure on that story any more.

    I don't think anything was gelded, it was a stud pasture across the road from her house. She had quite a few nursing mares and foals. Then the two and three year olds in pens in front of her house. I don't know if they were broke or not, don't remember. Seems like, there was a four year old in there too, not broke, kinda small.

    Hate to say it but they were on the thin side but she was trying to sell some and winnow the herd down. She was looking for hay, any type, just needed some hay. No hay to be found even if she had money. Just no buyers with money. At the time, I was driving our big rig and didn't need a horse, although I did think about one stud horse who'd make a nice gelding but she said someone was interested in him. Since I didn't need a horse at the time, I let the idea drop of my buying him. I'm pretty sure someone in Winnemucca/Elko/Reno was going to take some for starting u/s.

    Sad to see it's come to this. She said someone had been bothering her about the horses but wouldn't do it face to face, just they'd call the cops and let the chips fall where they may.

    what do you do when you can't give them away....
    Quote Originally Posted by fargaloo View Post
    Do you not understand how asking "why now?" is EXACTLY part of the reason why assault victims feel silenced?



  16. #16
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    Angry

    I can't help but think that the reaction would be very different if the owner of these horses did not post on COTH.

    so what is the excuse for elf shoes? If you have fallen on hard times, get to work with a rasp. Do not create or acquire horses you will not handle and train. Really I do not see many valid excuses for animal neglect.

    Why do all of the males still have their balls?
    Last edited by Appsolute; Sep. 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM.
    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Appsolute View Post
    I can't help but think that the reaction would be very different if the owner of these horses did not post on COTH.

    so what is the excuse for elf shoes? If you have fallen on hard times, get to work with a rasp. Really I do not see many valid excuses for animal neglect.
    how does this old saying go?
    There but for the Grace of God I go....
    Quote Originally Posted by fargaloo View Post
    Do you not understand how asking "why now?" is EXACTLY part of the reason why assault victims feel silenced?



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    how does this old saying go?
    There but for the Grace of God I go....
    I believe in the Puppy Mill thread you favored the saying "methinks the lady doth protest too much."

    The owner is protesting quite a lot here too. Maybe some of it is legit, but I fail to see how the elf shoes could be anything but neglect.



  19. #19
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    About the stud horses in the pasture, I can't fathom that. But, if she didn't have money for hay, there isn't money for the vet. Where I live, there is a lady who will geld a horse for you but it didn't seem there was anyone around CCH who could do it and cut her a break.

    I didn't see any foals in the vid, so maybe those were the more grown-up versions of the foals I saw. I think I was there about 1 1/2 years ago, maybe a bit longer. Maybe she didn't breed any more due to figgering out she was in trouble financially, we didn't talk about that.

    And, like Alagirl said above, when you can't give them away, what do you do?? She didn't sell them to a kill buyer to die a horrid death in Mexico. I don't know if a KB would buy that many anyway.

    I feel for her, I really do, because I saw/talked to her and talked a bit here and there on the phone, knowing her situation because I saw with my own eyes. But, then again, I feel she got too far in over her head and couldn't see a way out, couldn't even give them away. But the elf hooves look really bad, in my view... Sheesh....
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!



  20. #20
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    The livestock auction probably has the contract (and ability to handle that large of numbers) for livestock related animal control issues in that part of the state/county-at least until fostering. It's not like they're there to be sold but when you seize that many at once, where else are you going to take them so that you can do all the intake processing etc?

    Secondly, IMO, she should have LONG AGO taken a load or ten to the sale yard! It is easy to put a reserve on any animal sold-and if you don't like the price you don't have to take it, if you do or you are willing to take the $5 bid because the lady looks nice and her teenage son needs a horse and they don't look like meat buyers then you can nod and tell the auctioneer "sell her" it is not rocket science people!

    You come on COTH you say "OH MY GOD HELP ME WHAT DO I DO????" before you get to this point. You find foster networks etc. If you've got time to facebook, you've got time to say "help me rehome these horses for free" on COTH.

    You call your local animal control and say help me geld these horses. You contact the local 4h/FFA instructor and say hey I'm giving these horses away if you know a deserving kid" or you get on craigslist and say free horse to good home and then you CHECK REFERENCES.

    The point is, action should have been taken long ago before someone ended up with 30some odd horses in seizeable condition (and IMO unless they're Three Chimneys or Sheila Varian, before they even ended up with THIRTY SOME ODD HORSES.)

    /soapbox.
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


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