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How do you report starved horses you see?

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  • #21
    To be honest, I am not entirely comfortable with the advice in the OP. "I see a horse that looks kind of skinny, I'm going to call law enforcement" as a first reaction on first viewing is troubling for me. To be visited by law enforcement is a big deal... and from my total outsider point of view maybe not always the best way to proceed.

    I would point out that I never hear of people calling law enforcement for a horse that is a body score of 10... which is also very dangerous for the horse and indicative of a different kind of neglect.

    Are there horses in good weight? Does the horse have access to food? Does it look to be in distress?

    If the horse is for sale, they're obviously trying to find the horse a new place, and most likely are aware their care is not adequate. I am not seeing how referring such a person for prosecution is making the world a better place for anyone.

    It's also worth knowing if your local AC is "reasonable" - that is, do they know horses or are they going to be reading off a checklist that may cause them to create a problem where none actually exists?
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Simkie View Post
      I've had a question about a horse on my drive that perhaps could be answered by those posting on this thread:

      There is a chestnut mare kept in a pen near the road on my way to the barn. She is youngish looking (not a baby, but doesn't look aged) and perhaps a four condition wise. The pen she's kept in is perhaps 60' x 60'.

      My concern is that she has NO shelter. She has no windbreak. Her pen has an old cottonwood in it, but it looks like she ate all the bark she could reach long ago and the tree is long dead.

      I very rarely see her with any hay in her pen (and I drive by at all hours) but she's not in bad shape and there is a big bale outside the pen. She's obviously getting fed. I assume she's got water. I can't really see her feet from the road. I've never seen anyone out there taking care of her, and I've never seen her out of the pen.

      I find the lack of shelter or even a windbreak concerning.

      Should I call and report her situation, or is this a case of she's not bad off enough for them to do anything about?
      Well, if she's not in bad shape, I don't see there is a problem, do you? Many states have no requirement for shelter or a windbreak. Kentucky is one.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by microbovine View Post
        1). If you drive by, get an address and a quick description of the animal and call your local AC. Although, some, like in the county I live now, have limited rsources and hours. I went down and filled out a written statement regarding the skinny horse I drove past. You can choose to remain anonymous. Some things that are helpful:

        I'm not with law enforcement, but we get neglect complaints at the rescue and try to work with local law enforcement to get them checked out. PLEASE get an address. If you cannot find an address, please get good directions, mile markers or distances are appreciated, description of the house/buildings/etc. are good.

        If I hear "I saw a skinny horse by the yellow house on that road that goes south from SomeSmallTownYouHaveNeverHeardOf" or a similar type of directions again, I may scream. I cannot forward that to the sheriff's department because they're not going to drive around looking for the yellow house.

        5). What if you don't like your local AC?

        -Call anyway. Give them a chance to do it right. If you don't see any change, call them and ask to speak with the officer. Be nice and see if you can help the case along. It might be a situation where they have hay but aren't feeding enough. The officer might not have the training. Gently feel out the situation. I ran into that and it was just a matter of emailing references to the officer. Once he could compare the horse in question to a BSC chart, he could act by calling a vet out to do an evaluation and, based on the vet's recommendations, the owner was cited for neglect and the horse got help. It was a definite 'teach a man to fish' situation. He became that AC's 'go to' guy for equine cases.
        You can also offer to help the officer find an equine professional to help them (like a vet). And you can offer space to hold the horse if needed (they may not take you up on it as they may see it as a conflict of interest, but it is nice for the officers to know you are there).

        A few things I want to add:

        - Don't call over and over and over again. Give the officers or rescues or whoever time to work. They may be trying to find the horses, trying to educate the owner, trying to gather evidence. They may not be able to jump in and do what you want the second you want it, but it doesn't mean they're doing nothing.

        - Please be careful discussing cases online. If it is an open case, the officers working on it may not want it all over the internet. And if the owner hasn't been charged with a crime or had his/her horses removed under a civil violation, you shouldn't be throwing their names out there.

        - Please don't post a case online and ask everyone and their dog to call law enforcement. In my early rescue days, I did that once and I was stupid. It alienated the officers, they were overwhelmed, and they couldn't/wouldn't get anything done.

        - Don't vilify the officers. They're overworked, underfunded, and under-educated (often, not always). I've worked with officers who are helping with our neglect case at the same time they're investigating murder cases, meth labs, rapes, etc. Those things take priority.

        - Don't expect the officer or rescue to call you back and give you updates. They're normally over-extended. Give them a week or two and check back in for an update.

        Thanks for starting this topic.
        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

          #24
          Thank you for all the comments.

          Angela Freda, you were right on. I am not being political about where horses go; just saying that there are horses that can fall through the cracks unless someone is in a position to intervene. It's more of an upgrade than a rescue, I suppose.

          The two specific cases discussed are very similar. They can be reported but unless there is more to the story, or an unusually aggressive AC officer, probably not much could be done. I would monitor the situations from a safe distance.

          As far as a concern about overburdening LE, you would be surprised at the types of calls they get. Complaints about blind horses left defenseless in pastures (fly masks) to people reporting abuse because horses are housed in stall and paddocks and should be "running free on pasture instead" (no kidding). Most typical is the assumption that because they don't see anyone feeding, riding or cleaning, that it isn't being done.

          Fairfax, as far as my qualifications, well, they are a bit outdated, but they include the full set of AJ classes at the local community college (after HS), the Reserve Officer Training Corps certified by the state of California and Powers of Arrest certification, Search and Rescue training, Leadership training, evidence collection at major crimes scenes (I worked for San Mateo PD as well), mass casualty, disaster training, etc... More recently was all the required military training as well as anti-terrorist techniques, etc... Additional animal training was through animal science classes at Colorado State and working for a large animal vet for a year back in Colorado during college and again, for a year back in 2007, just before our son was born. I received an honorable discharge from the military in 2006, went back to school to work on my master's and re-take some required science classes that were over ten years old (including a year of organic chemistry, AGAIN) and then applied for vet school here in Florida for the Fall 2008 school year. I withdrew my application after finding out my husband and I were expecting around the same time vet school started. I probably would not have gotten in the first time (based on feedback from their adviser) but I had a good chance within a few years. That has been put on hold while our son needs me. I have no regrets. Perhaps I will re-apply. Or, re-qualify and return to LE but there is admittedly not much money to be made and it's really for the younger folks. I might enjoy lab work instead. I haven't decided. First, I need to wait until our son is in regular school. Are you sorry you asked? LOL!
          “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

          St. Padre Pio

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by inca View Post
            This is NOT based in reality. There is NO WAY I am going to knock on someone's door and have a discussion about the condition of their horses. This is Texas and I would prefer not to get shot (only kind of joking.)
            I am going to second this. Unless you know the people or the owners, I don't recommend going up and knocking on their doors. I had more than one volunteer who did this (before they were involved with rescue) and were met with guns.

            There's horrible about calling a suspected neglect case in and letting the officers investigate it.
            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


            • #26
              Originally posted by Riding at 90 View Post
              Inca : as hard as this is to believe this is very much based in reality.The DOA HAVE to respond to a complaint of any kind it is the law. They are the only service with the authority to do anything constructive, as they are licensed Vets and are Government Employees, the ASPCA, AC do have to get a court order and the horses/animals may have gone by the time that happens. I am not suggesting Trespass and getting shot would be a very bad thing but assessing a horses condition from the road, in a car, doing speed is not very trustworthy in MHO. The DOA can gain access to any property and assess each and every animal on the property go anywhere and make an informed professional assessment. They were and are set up for this specific purpose and I have no idea why they are not the first point of contact. Your complaint can also be anonymous and they still have to check it out.
              All of this is going to depend on where you are. In Texas, police officers, sheriff's deputies, livestock officers, and animal control officers are the ones who are going to investigate, not anyone with the Texas Dept. of Ag. nor the Texas Animal Health Commission.
              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

                #27
                The bottom line is that you have to use your best judgement and give the benefit of the doubt. I did that with the skinny horse I drove by. I monitored him over a period of two months and realized he was deteriorating, I called. Horses can be skinny for a variety of reasons and I am not one to call immediately for every ribby horse unless I see a lack of improvement.
                “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                St. Padre Pio

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                  Well, if she's not in bad shape, I don't see there is a problem, do you? Many states have no requirement for shelter or a windbreak. Kentucky is one.
                  I'm in Colorado. I would be STUNNED if we did not have a requirement for some sort of shelter for livestock. Where would I find that information?

                  But yes, if there's not a requirement, then there's obviously no complaint. Sad and crappy way to keep a horse, though.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Riding at 90 View Post
                    I have had dealings with this kind of thing in 2 seperate countries. A/C is not usually equiped or trained to deal with Large Animals, some are but most are not. In My humble opinion I find it very unprofessional of an A/C Officer to advocate someone calling them about a "skinny horse" from a drive by! The Department of Agriculture are certified Veterinarians and will and can calculate IF a horse is underweight, if the conditions of the horse/horses are acceptable and can impound, remove, and have people arrested on the spot, should they deem it necessary. They are also in contact with Local Vets and, with a phone call at the time, can determine if the Horse owner/carer are telling the truth. Horses can be "Skinny" for a number of reasons, age, ill health, breed they may be rescues ONLY professional can determine the cause and seriousness of this kind of situation. I would suggest, rather than trial by internet/drive by or unqualified people using a professional scale they are not equiped to use, IF you have a concern about the "look" of an animal take the time to go see the facility, talk to people and IF you do not like what you see call the Dep of Ag who are vets and are equiped to do something about it. Just my informed humble opinion folks.
                    Nope, no way. If I can tell a horse is skinny from the road, then it's skinny. And as you said the professionals can determine whether it's "officially" underweight and take the appropriate action. Thats why I call them. I'm not going to assume they are some uneducated but good hearted person just waiting for me to tell them how to fatten up their horse. Starving animals is a crime and I'm not sure what I could say to help someone who can't see ribs, hipbones, etc and draw the right conclusion.
                    I did talk to a neighbor about her skinny dogs face to face (she came home while I was feeding them). I also had bedding for their totally empty doghouse(1) . She kept repeating'"I feed my dogs" no matter what I said. Oh and the older dog had cancer and she couldn't bear to put it down. Funny, the so-called sick dog ate more, faster than the other. So I advised I was going to call the sheriff. I did and they talked to her and the dogs gained weight. (even the "cancer stricken" dog who lived at least 2 years after that and was 13 when I reported them)

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                      He appears to have hay to eat and it is hard to tell the condition of the sorrel since there is no body picture. Could be that the bay is kept with the mares and is on the low end of the pecking order and not getting his share of the hay.
                      Even if that is the reason he is skinny it still should be addressed. Cruelty doesn't have to be deliberate to be wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Micro

                        thank you. Your experience is at a higher level than almost any AC I have been in contact with however I noticed so much of your background is interrogation, military etc ..BUT you also have animal health backgrounds.

                        So many AC's are trained in interview techniques...however to become a friend and gain confidence so they will spill the beans. ... I have a client who attended a seminar put on by HSUS and AC and Police were trained how to lie on their reports and what words could be used that had major impact...i.e. the worst we have ever seen...all horses at a 1 on the weight scale (of which there is NO official weight scale...Heneke withdrew the right to use his scale as it was not developed for rescue.

                        Another point is the older horse. One was seized...lied about by the AC and presented by the rescue as a "mid teen" mare...turns out she is over 30. When they seized her they clearly stated she was abused, neglected and GOOD FEED and lots of love would fatten her up.

                        Whoops...a year later they now claim the mare has a syndrome called old age anorexia (but they also said there was no such thing)...and so one needs to be aware of "tricks" AC can and might use.

                        Another concern is ONCE they have arrived at your farm...they can automatically use that against the farm in the media releases by stating they know the farm and have visited there before EVEN IF NOTHING is wrong.

                        You sound ethical. I wish more were
                        The Elephant in the room

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Riding at 90 View Post
                          The Department of Agriculture are certified Veterinarians and will and can calculate IF a horse is underweight, if the conditions of the horse/horses are acceptable and can impound, remove, and have people arrested on the spot, should they deem it necessary. They are also in contact with Local Vets and, with a phone call at the time, can determine if the Horse owner/carer are telling the truth.
                          I have to second what cowgirljenn stated.

                          Dept. of AG does not necessarily have police powers. You need to check on that in your state.

                          In KY they have NO police powers even though at times they may "suggest" they do.

                          In KY they are also NOT authorized to enter your property without LE (and LE warrant) unless in case of suspicion of a communicable decease.

                          Even the state vet or his AG Dept. investigators, as we have found, are not as knowledgeable about scoring horses as they claim, especially if the one they are 'investigating' is one of their buddies or a person in a public position.

                          In KY they are also not supposed to make recommendations to the investigating authorities, but yet they have consistently done so in their reports (thank you open record requests) which then in turn a county has used as an excuse not to file charges and/or drop a case.

                          Please do not go by what the Dept. of AG tells you, open request their policies, their job descriptions and everything else that may help your determine what exactly they CAN do.
                          ************************
                          \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Contact county agencies and state agencies. And keep contacting them. I'm lucky to live in an area where the state agent is really good. In some areas of my state, the agents are lazy and worthless.

                            I call the state agency (state agriculture department) in my state for horse and cow neglect or abuse. Someone has to speak up. Most people wait for someone else to do something. Sitting on your hands doesn't help horses eat. It's not being mean to report neglect or abuse. It's the responsible thing to do. Given that, I don't let people know where my horses are. Except the state agent, of course. I have nothing to hide about the care of my horses. But I don't want someone I've reported to do anything to my horses.

                            Speak up about animal abuse as you should speak up about child abuse. Those who are unable to speak for themselves, animals and children, must have responsible people help them.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              OP: If I drive by a horse every day and it is so thin I can count its ribs from the road, I am certainly going to call it in if the horse's condition does not improve or gets worse. I don't think that is being at all irresponsible. Hopefully officials will investigate and determine the appropriate course of action. I am not going to just ignore a horse that appears to need help.

                              No, I don't call in every horse that I drive by once that is thinner than I would keep my horse. If I did, I would unfortunately be very busy making phone calls. :-( Also, common sense says if there are 3 or 4 horses in the pasture and only 1 horse is thin, than quite possibly that horse is old or has some other condition that makes it a hard keeper. But, again, if you drive by every day, you can monitor the situation and call if things get worse.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by microbovine View Post
                                What have I forgotten? It's early so I probably left something important out....
                                Take PICTURES.

                                http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...6&l=1ecd9244a8
                                http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...8&l=161c76bffa

                                The animal control officer was very appreciative of photos when I reported this old skinny horse. He had been on the property for years and then one day the owners let him loose and he was grazing by the road in front of their house.

                                This was one year ago and they did pay a visit to the owners. The horse is still alive and still skinny, though not as skinny from what I can see.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by inca View Post

                                  Also, common sense says if there are 3 or 4 horses in the pasture and only 1 horse is thin, than quite possibly that horse is old or has some other condition that makes it a hard keeper. But, again, if you drive by every day, you can monitor the situation and call if things get worse.
                                  The caveat to that is if there's a lack of education on the part of horsekeeper
                                  - about how you can help an oldster retain condition [teeth, alternative feeds or feeding methods or frequency]-
                                  .... and the call to authorities, even if it is one horse out of several that is thin, get them the education they need to do better.... you've also helped the horse
                                  Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

                                  http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I contacted the Kentucky Dept. of Ag. this morning about someone claiming that there are atrocious abuses occurring at Kentucky feedlots! I can't repeat their comments, but they were not pleased. They requested who was making such claims, so I referred them to the thread on coth where it was posted!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Angela Freda View Post
                                      The caveat to that is if there's a lack of education on the part of horsekeeper
                                      - about how you can help an oldster retain condition [teeth, alternative feeds or feeding methods or frequency]-
                                      .... and the call to authorities, even if it is one horse out of several that is thin, get them the education they need to do better.... you've also helped the horse
                                      Assuming the authorities actually know more about it than the person who is caring for the horse, which is not a given.

                                      We all see different things, depending upon the people around us and the AC officers locally, and our own personal experiences with horses.

                                      There's an assumption underlying all this that everyone around us is incompetent and uncaring - and maybe that's true and maybe it's not.

                                      I am thinking of the UC Davis brochure that was going out as "training" to non-equine AC officers that said that a body score of less than 6 was evidence of neglect, that all stalls had to be at least 13' x 13', that feed had to be in front of the horse at all times, that water buckets had to be pristine at all times.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                        Assuming the authorities actually know more about it than the person who is caring for the horse, which is not a given.

                                        We all see different things, depending upon the people around us and the AC officers locally, and our own personal experiences with horses.

                                        There's an assumption underlying all this that everyone around us is incompetent and uncaring - and maybe that's true and maybe it's not.

                                        I am thinking of the UC Davis brochure that was going out as "training" to non-equine AC officers that said that a body score of less than 6 was evidence of neglect, that all stalls had to be at least 13' x 13', that feed had to be in front of the horse at all times, that water buckets had to be pristine at all times.
                                        Sorry I should have been clear that contacting authorities is only useful in the case I illustrated if the themselves are knowledgeable or seek out those who are to guide the horse owner.

                                        I am in an area where AC/HS is craptasticly unknowledgeable, AND rely on 2 local rescues who are almost as uninformed AND have agendas [one is PETA-esque the other is backyard-esque in a bad way].
                                        That AC knows very little is always my assumption, based on the experiences I've had with the one here.
                                        Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

                                        http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I can, and will, call the appropriate authorities if need be.

                                          But the flip side is the many unwarranted complaints by well intentioned but not knowledgeable people. For example (similar to Inca's point) I found AC waiting for me at my barn one day having received a call about a 'starving' horse. Which was, a 30 yo toothless mare at the end of winter, eating more of her special gruel and etc than the other three horses combined. AC was satisfied and said 'gee, sorry, but we have to check every time someone calls.'

                                          I am absolutely horrified at the thought that if some folks have their way, 'officers' would have been able to simply take my beloved old mare away without due process. Which would not have been good for the mare. (I digress a bit but it is to me a big concern).

                                          Example #2, a mostly retired gelding of mine, free leased to a gal for a summer for very light trail riding- she had to field complaints that the horse was 'blindfolded.' Yeah, fly mask.

                                          Example #3, a fellow here in Utah who had to deal with complaints of cruelty because his horses were standing out in the weather in knee deep mud. Well, yes, it was the muddy season, and yes, the dang horses chose to stand out in the mud in lieu of standing in their more than adequate dry shed.

                                          I personally would never call and report something based on hearsay/gossip or based on reading a post on the internet. If I don't have first hand knowledge I cannot be sure of the accuracy of claims and sure don't want to falsely accuse or destroy my own credibility.

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