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Animal Cops Houston - Fruitbats Everywhere!

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  • Animal Cops Houston - Fruitbats Everywhere!

    Today is my day off, so I'm watching Animal Planet. Mistake? I think yes.

    First, we see a grey mare that is about 500 lbs underweight. She is living tied to a tree behind the trailer home of her owner. Her hooves are split almost completely in half. When the investigators called the owner, she told them she doesn't have a grey horse, "My horse is white." Oh, and she didn't know the horse was underweight and didn't know that horses have to have their hooves trimmed.

    Yeah, lady, you're clearly too stupid to live.

    Don't worry though, she got to keep the horse. Didn't even get a fine. Because the investigators felt she just didn't know any better.

    Next, we see a youngish horse with a halter grown completely into its head - down to the bone. The owner is totally comfortable in telling the investigators that it's been like that for oh, about 2 months. And because the investigators don't want to go get their trailer, they tell the owner to take the horse to a vet and leave. The owner does take the horse to the vet, so no further action is taken. No fines. No nothing.

    Seriously!?
    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
    -George Morris

  • #2
    Get Jenn from Bluebonnet to tell you some stories. Or whoanellie can tell you similar ones form CA. Or Sunkissed can tell you the same from GA and AL...oh, wait. They can ALL tell these stories, over and over, and in every state in the US.

    Hmmm...think something is broken around here?
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

    Comment


    • #3
      I will say I have seen people get horses thinking they're like dogs--you know, food and water and everything will probably be okay--shape up. I actually work with a family who called me due to a visit from AC due to an underweight horse with untrimmed hooves, and they wound up being pretty good owners. I go out there every 6 weeks and trim their horses' hooves (they're up to 3 now, all retirees), the horses are dewormed regularly and fed well, live on a large dry lot with hay available at all times, just generally a good life. Of course, the difference is that these people were ignorant to begin with but wanted to learn. Still, I'm glad AC chose to work with them in that case.

      No excuse at all for a halter grown into the head, though. You don't have to be a horse person to see that's wrong.
      exploring the relationship between horse and human

      Comment


      • #4
        It's been a long time since I watched the Animal Cops shows, but I always felt that Houston was the best of them. The investigators seemed fair and appeared to know a lot about horses in particular.

        Caitlin
        Caitlin
        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
        http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
          First, we see a grey mare that is about 500 lbs underweight. She is living tied to a tree behind the trailer home of her owner. Her hooves are split almost completely in half. When the investigators called the owner, she told them she doesn't have a grey horse, "My horse is white." Oh, and she didn't know the horse was underweight and didn't know that horses have to have their hooves trimmed.
          Sadly the fruitbats aren't just found in the Houston area. I live outside of San Antonio and you could be describing a horse just down the road from me, only she is a paint.

          The poor mare lives on a 10 foot rope tied around her neck (no halter). Sometimes the rope is tied to a small mesquite tree and other times it is tied to one of those poles set in cement in a tire that you might see holding up a volleyball net. I have been calling animal control every few weeks since October.

          Oh wait, she also has a foal. The foal is not contained in any way. The place has a perimiter fence, but half of the time the main gate is left open so nothing is keeping the foal from leaving the property.

          Here is what I have been told by animal control:
          - No halter, no problem. It is ok for her to be tied around the neck
          - No shelter, no problem. Shelter isn't required in Texas. I get it, we do have mild winters. Guess what though? In February we have had temperatures as low at 15, as high as 93, and during those lows we had 25-30 mph wind. I bet she would have appreciated at least a windbreak since she lives in the open on a 20 foot circle.
          - No food and water available? Well, she only has to be offered food and water two times in every 24 hour period. This means that even though I never see food or water (and if animal control doesn't see food or water), the owner could be offering it when we aren't around . Clearly she is getting something to eat and drink because she is alive... and a bcs of 1.5 at best.

          So I continue to call in hopes that they will eventually decide that it is easier to deal with the horse owner than to field yet another call from me.

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder in cases like that, if the AC agents feel as frustrated as you do, or if they don't care. I mean, it sounds like the owners are fulfilling the letter of the law if not the spirit. And I'd be the last person to advocate seizure of an animal who is being cared for according to the law, because of the frightening abuses that have taken place. But at the same time, keeping a horse like that is clearly cruel. It has to be maddening for agents that actually care.

            Fruitbats are definitely everywhere. Around here, AC is all over the place. I go to a lot of barns and I'm not shy about calling when I see cruelty happening. I've seen folks be IMO unfairly harassed by folks with an agenda (as in, conditions might not have been ideal but horses were fed, watered, turned out, had hoof and vet care, etc., just crappy fencing and no shelter--which, in my area, isn't uncommon nor is it illegal), and other times I have called repeatedly on situations where horses weren't being fed (once on purpose, by a man who boasted about how he wasn't feeding a relative's horse to get back at the owner after some feud), had untreated illnesses/injuries that clearly needed vet care, etc. And of course, in poor areas like mine, the agencies are underfunded so it isn't like there is going to be a lot more training happening.

            I will say, since it sounds like I'm ragging on AC here, I know many of the agents in my state and I think they're overall good, knowledgeable folk...but that doesn't mean cases don't slip through the cracks. I know a few who I don't think so highly of, too, and unfortunately the good ones seem to have little influence over them. I do think most try hard to do their best to both follow the law and do their best for the animals, though, which can often be a bit contradictory.
            exploring the relationship between horse and human

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I was actually pretty impressed with the AC officers on the show. The fruitbats were in reference to the horse owners and the stupid laws that allow them to continue on their merry and ignorant way.

              Not that I'm all for AC interference, but come on!

              And yes, I realize that this happens everywhere, all the time. I think it's horrible and maddening and seeing it on tv this morning just kind of sent me over the proverbial edge.

              Licensing for horse owners. All I'm saying.
              "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
              -George Morris

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
                Don't worry though, she got to keep the horse. Didn't even get a fine. Because the investigators felt she just didn't know any better.
                If they educated her and the horse started getting proper care, she SHOULD get to keep the horse. I would rather educate owners than take their horses any day.

                I have at least 30 open neglect cases right now. Representing a couple hundred horses, maybe more. Some of those cases will be nothing, which is great. Some will be horses who are seizable but we can educate owners. Other cases need to be seized.

                But right now, those horses who need to be seized probably won't be. Why? Because we (all rescue groups, including the HSPCA) are in a crisis right now. We're so overrun with horses we can't get help to them. I have 3 cases right now in particular:

                #1: horses, donkeys, cows. Animals are dying. We are out of room and resources. The county does not have a holding facility and is begging for people to help. No one is helping.

                #2: Four horses seized. The county will end up euthanizing the horses (if the JP finds that they are in fact neglected) because no one can take them

                #3: Three estray horses whose owners haven't been located. Don't know what will happen because we're full and cannot help.

                And HSPCA, like us, gets called all over the state to help. If we seized every skinny horses without attempting to educate the owner (and following up), we would be in even worse shape.

                Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
                And because the investigators don't want to go get their trailer, they tell the owner to take the horse to a vet and leave. The owner does take the horse to the vet, so no further action is taken. No fines. No nothing.
                Do you know the investigators don't want to go get the trailer? Or could it be they're overrun and giving the owner the chance to do the right thing?

                We're damned if we do, damned if we don't. If we take horses, people yell that we shouldn't. If we don't take horses, people yell that we should. And all the time, we're absolutely overrun with neglected horses and as the economy gets worse, we have less help and fewer donations and more horses needing help.

                It is an impossible situation. It makes me want to quit every day. It makes me burnt out every day. It frustrates me every day. It is upsetting and difficult and we're all doing the best we can with the resources we have.
                Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lindsay_aggie View Post
                  Here is what I have been told by animal control:
                  - No halter, no problem. It is ok for her to be tied around the neck
                  - No shelter, no problem. Shelter isn't required in Texas. I get it, we do have mild winters. Guess what though? In February we have had temperatures as low at 15, as high as 93, and during those lows we had 25-30 mph wind. I bet she would have appreciated at least a windbreak since she lives in the open on a 20 foot circle.
                  - No food and water available? Well, she only has to be offered food and water two times in every 24 hour period. This means that even though I never see food or water (and if animal control doesn't see food or water), the owner could be offering it when we aren't around . Clearly she is getting something to eat and drink because she is alive... and a bcs of 1.5 at best.
                  I will say that they're right - you can have horses tied, and that's legal. And no shelter is required (even when the temps. drop).

                  HOWEVER - if she's really in BCS of 1.5, then she's neglected (unless she's under a vet care for something).

                  Bexar Co. is nearly impossible to work with - I've got cases I've reported there (this may even be one of them) where I can't get them to seize (when we have room - right now if they were willing to seize, I couldn't even help them).

                  However, sometimes the media gets them motivated. You might contact the local TV and newspaper - they did a story on a case in Wilson Co. where we had been trying to get the horses seized, and that's what it took. (Unfortunately it was too late for one of the horses by that point - but we got five to safety).
                  Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                  Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by cowgirljenn View Post
                    If they educated her and the horse started getting proper care, she SHOULD get to keep the horse. I would rather educate owners than take their horses any day.
                    I believe the postscript on the show said that they ended up seizing the horse a month later.


                    Do you know the investigators don't want to go get the trailer? Or could it be they're overrun and giving the owner the chance to do the right thing?
                    No, really, the investigator looked at the camera and said "The trailer is an hour and a half away and it'll probably be dark by the time we get back here. So we're just going to issue a warning".

                    Really, I wasn't angry at the investigators. I'm angry at the laws that suck and the horse owners that can't be bothered to get off the couch and take proper care of their animals.
                    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                    -George Morris

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
                      I believe the postscript on the show said that they ended up seizing the horse a month later.
                      Then they did what we would have - tried to educate the owner first. It gives those who are truly ignorant and care a chance to learn. And if they still refuse to take care of their horses, you can go into court and say: Listen, we went out on X/X/XX and told them they needed to do XYZ and they didn't comply and the horse didn't improve." (and that often seals your case against the owners).

                      No, really, the investigator looked at the camera and said "The trailer is an hour and a half away and it'll probably be dark by the time we get back here. So we're just going to issue a warning".
                      Ok, now I want to know who the investigator is so I know who to yell at. (Ok, probably not one of the ones I know!).

                      I'm feeling beyond overwhelmed today. I have too many horses here personally and it is breaking my heart to turn more away. I want to hurt those who aren't taking care of their horses, but that's not a professional attitude.
                      Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                      Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cowgirljenn View Post
                        I will say that they're right - you can have horses tied, and that's legal. And no shelter is required (even when the temps. drop).

                        HOWEVER - if she's really in BCS of 1.5, then she's neglected (unless she's under a vet care for something).

                        Bexar Co. is nearly impossible to work with - I've got cases I've reported there (this may even be one of them) where I can't get them to seize (when we have room - right now if they were willing to seize, I couldn't even help them).

                        However, sometimes the media gets them motivated. You might contact the local TV and newspaper - they did a story on a case in Wilson Co. where we had been trying to get the horses seized, and that's what it took. (Unfortunately it was too late for one of the horses by that point - but we got five to safety).
                        I am in Medina county, and I don't blame that animal control officers in this case. The second or third time I called on this mare I asked whether or not the owners were breaking the law by tying her, not providing shelter, and not providing visible food or water. I told the ACO that I understand that they are not breaking any laws in the way the mare is kept. Now I just report that there is an extremely skinny horse on that property, because that (starvation) is the only cruel (legally) thing that is being done to the mare. I also mentioned that maybe the owners just don't know better and that hopefully some education might improve the mare's life.

                        GOOD NEWS:
                        After I replied to this thread earlier in the day I kept thinking about the poor mare. I figured that by now the ACO knows that the same person is calling over and over so maybe it is time for a new voice. My husband called and reported the skinny horse...and this evening when I passed by on my way home from work she was tied within reach of a pretty ok looking round bale. The owner was outside digging post holes for what I can only hope is a fence for the poor animal.

                        I have never before seen her with access to food, water, or hay and I drive by at least twice daily. So I am happy for her
                        (and a little nervous that she went from nothing to free choice hay in the same day...)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are you sure that show wasn't "Animal Cops South Georgia???"
                          Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
                          www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lindsay_aggie View Post
                            Sadly the fruitbats aren't just found in the Houston area. I live outside of San Antonio and you could be describing a horse just down the road from me, only she is a paint.

                            The poor mare lives on a 10 foot rope tied around her neck (no halter). Sometimes the rope is tied to a small mesquite tree and other times it is tied to one of those poles set in cement in a tire that you might see holding up a volleyball net. I have been calling animal control every few weeks since October.

                            Oh wait, she also has a foal. The foal is not contained in any way. The place has a perimiter fence, but half of the time the main gate is left open so nothing is keeping the foal from leaving the property.

                            Here is what I have been told by animal control:
                            - No halter, no problem. It is ok for her to be tied around the neck
                            - No shelter, no problem. Shelter isn't required in Texas. I get it, we do have mild winters. Guess what though? In February we have had temperatures as low at 15, as high as 93, and during those lows we had 25-30 mph wind. I bet she would have appreciated at least a windbreak since she lives in the open on a 20 foot circle.
                            - No food and water available? Well, she only has to be offered food and water two times in every 24 hour period. This means that even though I never see food or water (and if animal control doesn't see food or water), the owner could be offering it when we aren't around . Clearly she is getting something to eat and drink because she is alive... and a bcs of 1.5 at best.

                            So I continue to call in hopes that they will eventually decide that it is easier to deal with the horse owner than to field yet another call from me.
                            God, I wish I hadn't read this just before bed time. I doubt I'll sleep tonight. My. God.

                            ETA: Thank goodness I read your last post! Now I'll sleep a little better. Thank you for calling about this pair, lindsay-aggie.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jen: ((((((((HHHUUUGGGSSS)))))))))

                              And I did get my membership in the mail this weekend while I was in Miami.
                              HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                              www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                                Jen: ((((((((HHHUUUGGGSSS)))))))))

                                And I did get my membership in the mail this weekend while I was in Miami.
                                Thank you and thank you and welcome aboard.

                                I will get over it, though hugs are appreciated. It doesn't help that I have too many BEHS horses so I can't personally take in all these who need us, and I'm tired since we had a nasty storm last night and I couldn't sleep (having tornado flashbacks). And I think I need to eat more chocolate.
                                Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                                Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by lindsay_aggie View Post
                                  Sadly the fruitbats aren't just found in the Houston area. I live outside of San Antonio and you could be describing a horse just down the road from me, only she is a paint.

                                  The poor mare lives on a 10 foot rope tied around her neck (no halter). Sometimes the rope is tied to a small mesquite tree and other times it is tied to one of those poles set in cement in a tire that you might see holding up a volleyball net. I have been calling animal control every few weeks since October.

                                  Oh wait, she also has a foal. The foal is not contained in any way. The place has a perimiter fence, but half of the time the main gate is left open so nothing is keeping the foal from leaving the property.

                                  Here is what I have been told by animal control:
                                  - No halter, no problem. It is ok for her to be tied around the neck
                                  - No shelter, no problem. Shelter isn't required in Texas. I get it, we do have mild winters. Guess what though? In February we have had temperatures as low at 15, as high as 93, and during those lows we had 25-30 mph wind. I bet she would have appreciated at least a windbreak since she lives in the open on a 20 foot circle.
                                  - No food and water available? Well, she only has to be offered food and water two times in every 24 hour period. This means that even though I never see food or water (and if animal control doesn't see food or water), the owner could be offering it when we aren't around . Clearly she is getting something to eat and drink because she is alive... and a bcs of 1.5 at best.

                                  So I continue to call in hopes that they will eventually decide that it is easier to deal with the horse owner than to field yet another call from me.
                                  The law in Texas says failure to provide adequate food and shelter is abuse....am thinking Animal Control in San Antonio doesn't know what they are talking about....call your local sheriff if the horse is outside the city limits. Been thru this a ton of times in Texas...
                                  Bethe Mounce
                                  Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                                  https://www.facebook.com/AmericanRomanceEquestrian
                                  Brentwood CA

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lindsay_aggie View Post
                                    GOOD NEWS:
                                    After I replied to this thread earlier in the day I kept thinking about the poor mare. I figured that by now the ACO knows that the same person is calling over and over so maybe it is time for a new voice. My husband called and reported the skinny horse...and this evening when I passed by on my way home from work she was tied within reach of a pretty ok looking round bale. The owner was outside digging post holes for what I can only hope is a fence for the poor animal.

                                    I have never before seen her with access to food, water, or hay and I drive by at least twice daily. So I am happy for her
                                    (and a little nervous that she went from nothing to free choice hay in the same day...)
                                    HA!!!HA!!!! Welcome to the South sweetie!! See, the difference was THIS time your HUSBAND - a MAN called. When a MAN speaks, people listen, but when it's a woman, well the attitude is "Why doesn't someone tell that little chatterbox to pipe down and go fix supper?"

                                    Like I said, WELCOME to the often male chauvinist South.

                                    Don't read me wrong. I can't STAND that backward attitude among others frequently in evidence down here. And I was born and reared in the South.

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