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How do you report starved horses you see?

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  • How do you report starved horses you see?

    I thought this might be a useful topic to start.

    I have four years experience in law enforcement, including working for animal control (San Mateo County CA).

    Here are some tips on what to do when you see a skinny horse:

    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:

    -How long have you seen the horse in this condition (I had watched the pitiful sorrel deteriorate over two months).

    -Has anything changed (in my case, no, but if more horses were recently added or removed, that can be helpful).

    -Are there any foals or stallions (in my case, no, but it helps the AC to know if this is a breeding operation or not).

    -If you only know that there is a skinny horse on a farm you drive by, that is enough to report. Perhaps someone took in that horse recently or perhaps they have not been feeding it. AC will visit and find out. If no one is there, they will leave a contact notice and ask the owner to call them back.

    2). What if you respond to an ad because you want to purchase the horse and find it or other horses in deplorable condition?

    -First, you CAN buy a horse in deplorable condition and still report the sellers to AC. All you need to do is get a receipt. Make sure the seller's name, date of purchase and animal's description is on the receipt. A Coggins and health certificate really should be done. Tread carefully when you transport without this paperwork and always quarantine new purchases. I got a receipt (but no Coggins or HC) when I bought a starved donkey foal. If someone questions why you need a receipt, it is common for farms to need receipts for ALL livestock purchases because of agricultural land use tax breaks.

    -Second, get your vet out to see the animal ASAP. There are two reasons for this. One, to cover your own butt. If your neighbor reports you, you can show that the animal has been evaluated and your vet can verify this is a new purchase. Second, take a copy of the receipt, photos you have taken (after you get the animal home is fine) and a copy of the vet's evaluation to the local AC. They can use that as probable cause to inspect the seller's farm. That way, the other skinny animals you noticed when you bought yours can get help. If your horse was the only one purchased, the information is still useful to AC. The seller might have a record or at least they can monitor for future problems.

    3). What if you want to help a horse with a reportable condition (skinny or a painful injury that sn't being treated) you see advertised but don't have the room to take it in?

    -This is where you need to call AC as soon as you see the horse advertised. There is no need to contact the sellers yourself. Copy and paste the ad to something else in case it goes *poof*. Don't feel funny about emailing the AC officers the Craigslist ad. It happens often these days. They will follow-up. If you want to hear how it turned out, just email or call and ask to speak to the officer. I have done this recently because some full on nimrod advertised a horse for free with a large untreated wound because they couldn't afford vet care. AC worked with them and the animal was treated.

    4). What if the horse is in non-reportable condition but is advertised as 'free'?

    -This is where you can save a horse. Nothing says people can't advertise a horse for free. You and I know where the horse will end up if someone doesn't take them in (unless a hoarder sees the ad first). Those are the horses in the most danger because AC can't step in unless there is a violation. This is how I ended up with Gus, the feral Shetland. His condition wasn't poor. He wasn't even advertised. I was looking for a companion for my donkey and heard he was off to the bad local auction with the cull cows if someone didn't take him. Even Libby, the Morgan mare I took in last summer wasn't that skinny overall. She wasn't plump, like a Morgan should be, but she wasn't reportable skinny. Her eye was injured, however, so she was seen ASAP by the vets at the local university hospital to make it wasn't causing her any pain. If the eye had turned out to be an older, active, painful injury (ie: needed to be removed) I would have reported that the sellers to AC. As it turned out, it was an old injury that healed on it's own and was not painful. In that case, there was nothing to report.

    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.

    I hope that helps next time you are on the fence about reporting or not.
    “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

    St. Padre Pio
  • Original Poster

    #2
    What have I forgotten? It's early so I probably left something important out....
    “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

    St. Padre Pio

    Comment


    • #3
      This should be stickied or pinned for reference!

      Comment


      • #4
        All good...except for the confidential part. If you live in my county and the A/C knows the person with the very skinny horse...your name will not be kept confidential regardless of privacy laws. Have a friend report it.

        Comment


        • #5
          A couple things to add [off top of my head]:

          There are a myriad of reasons a horse can be skinny...
          the ones you listed and an owner not knowing that horses need their teeth done, and that alternate foods or feeding methods might be required for older/young/ill animals. So many in my area are back yard horse keepers who have almost no experience, and all they need is education, but as seen on COTH even 'professional paragons of certain disciplines' don't 'get it'... so education is key to helping horses.

          Know your local and state laws.
          In my state getting all worked up because the horse has no shelter won't do you any good, cause it's not legally required, believe it or not, in NYS. So know your laws before you call. They are easily found online.

          Make sure you are clear with AC, as well, about what you're seeing and what that means, be specific as ACs own experience with horses could be very limited.
          My AC was trying to seize some TBs because 'their feed buckets were empty' among other [ridiculous if you know horses] claims. What he didn't know was HELLO, horsemen feed their horses their grain well before 11 am [when he was on site] and horses eat their grain and then it's gone and their feed bucket will be empty until the next feeding time.... the horses were bedded on hay [aka food]... and the horses were fat [horses not fed properly, whether it's alot or a little food, aren't generally fat].
          Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Read your post on the skinney horse thread. And I agree with it totally. Quite often people are serial neglectors. AC is one way to keep tabs on this.
            from sunridge1:Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.it is going to be good until the last drop!Eleneswell, the open trail begged to be used. D Taylor

            Comment


            • #7
              Good post, I agree, that would be a good sticky.

              Here, we just call the sheriff and he goes to have "a little talk" with the animal owners in question and get all the information in the proper legal way to do so.

              Some times, the horse is skinny for a reason, others, well, that "little talk" was a wake-up call for that owner and things get better or they sell out of animals.

              If intervention is needed, the sheriff's office calls the vet on call for the health department and whatever rescue they use at the time.

              Comment


              • #8
                A Morgan should be plump?

                Can you please share with me your qualifications. Who conducted your training and where.

                Your information is very good as are some of the comments made by other posters.

                The reason I am asking about qualifications is the ongoing discovery that AC agents USUALLY have little to no equine knowledge or training.

                Thank you
                The Elephant in the room

                Comment


                • #9
                  Timely post. Want to do something for this bay horse. Would love to read your thoughts on this CL ad... http://ventura.craigslist.org/grd/3742113490.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.
                      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 HAVE called in horses before but it is obvious when you can count the ribs on every horse in a pasture from the road that something is not right. Unfortunately, the answer you get around here is that if the horse has access to water and is out on pasture, there is nothing they can do about it. I know horses have been seized around here but I really get the feeling that most authorities would prefer not to get involved unless they absolutely have to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Could you clarify your 4th point?

                        4). What if the horse is in non-reportable condition but is advertised as 'free'?

                        -This is where you can save a horse. Nothing says people can't advertise a horse for free. You and I know where the horse will end up if someone doesn't take them in (unless a hoarder sees the ad first).


                        I don't think you meant it this way, but the way I'm reading this is: "Even if the horse is fine, the conditions are acceptable...if the horse is FTGH, then we need to rescue it because it's about to be sent to a cull auction."

                        I think we could all agree that just because you get a free horse, doesn't mean you "rescued" it from a "bad" situation. Forgive the shortage of coffee I've had today Just wanted to better understand this hypothetical situation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by talkofthetown View Post
                          Could you clarify your 4th point?

                          4). What if the horse is in non-reportable condition but is advertised as 'free'?

                          -This is where you can save a horse. Nothing says people can't advertise a horse for free. You and I know where the horse will end up if someone doesn't take them in (unless a hoarder sees the ad first).


                          I don't think you meant it this way, but the way I'm reading this is: "Even if the horse is fine, the conditions are acceptable...if the horse is FTGH, then we need to rescue it because it's about to be sent to a cull auction."

                          I think we could all agree that just because you get a free horse, doesn't mean you "rescued" it from a "bad" situation. Forgive the shortage of coffee I've had today Just wanted to better understand this hypothetical situation.
                          I read that to mean non-reportable condition= bad shape but not bad enough to get attention or bad situation but not illegal situation.
                          Ie horse has longish feet, but not elf shoes
                          Horse is thin, but not emaciated

                          My interpretation was the 'offense' was the not quite reportable condition, not that it was a horse advertised free per se. I took the 'free' being included as I would think many would hesitate less to help the animal themselves if there's no money out to buy them.

                          OP goes on to explain horses she got free who were injured [Morgan with eye injury, not thin but not how we expect to see Morgans... would have reported injury to AC Vets had thought it was an active, painful injury that had not been seen to and probably should have to prevent horse suffering]

                          I could, of course, have that all wrong.


                          ETA no way in Hades am I going to go to someones' door and have that conversation and I would guess that AC and LE do not want you to do so either. Talk about taking things from bad to worse....
                          Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I realize trial by Internet is unfair, but just looking at what point is it an over-reaction. I think the horse looks like it could rate a two to three which is not horrifying, but they state they have too many and not enough time to ride them all, instead of not enough money to give them enough basic care... Anyway, as far as the Henneke scale goes, what number warrants a call to AC?

                            And no, I would absolutely not feel comfortable going and checking out the situation myself.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Or, you can just use an App:

                              http://www.king5.com/community/blogs...192139521.html

                              ALDF Crime Tips for iPhone and Android is a first-of-its-kind app designed to help you help animals by immediately alerting local law enforcement when animals are in need of help.

                              "ALDF Crime Tips takes the guesswork out of reporting abuse like dog fighting, neglect, and other forms of animal cruelty," ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a press release. "This discreet, effective way to help animals lets concerned citizens take action on the spot, with the confidence that their tips will get to authorities who can help animals and put abusers behind bars."

                              The free app, developed by CrimePush, allows you send a package of information, including the location and description of the incident, along with a photo, video and audio.
                              Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                Good post, I agree, that would be a good sticky.

                                Here, we just call the sheriff and he goes to have "a little talk" with the animal owners in question and get all the information in the proper legal way to do so.

                                Some times, the horse is skinny for a reason, others, well, that "little talk" was a wake-up call for that owner and things get better or they sell out of animals.

                                If intervention is needed, the sheriff's office calls the vet on call for the health department and whatever rescue they use at the time.

                                This happened to me. Driving to church each week I noticed that the horse that was normally in good flesh was slowly becoming a rack of bones. He had been at this place ( and healthy) for years. I called the sheriff ( we had no AC) and was told they had other calls on this horse, had talked to the owners and horse was old with a medical issue they were treating, but horse was not doing well and was due to be put down.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by candico View Post
                                  Timely post. Want to do something for this bay horse. Would love to read your thoughts on this CL ad... http://ventura.craigslist.org/grd/3742113490.html

                                  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.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Oh, that makes much more sense. Thanks



                                    Originally posted by Angela Freda View Post
                                    I read that to mean non-reportable condition= bad shape but not bad enough to get attention or bad situation but not illegal situation.
                                    Ie horse has longish feet, but not elf shoes
                                    Horse is thin, but not emaciated

                                    My interpretation was the 'offense' was the not quite reportable condition, not that it was a horse advertised free per se. I took the 'free' being included as I would think many would hesitate less to help the animal themselves if there's no money out to buy them.

                                    OP goes on to explain horses she got free who were injured [Morgan with eye injury, not thin but not how we expect to see Morgans... would have reported injury to AC Vets had thought it was an active, painful injury that had not been seen to and probably should have to prevent horse suffering]

                                    I could, of course, have that all wrong.


                                    ETA no way in Hades am I going to go to someones' door and have that conversation and I would guess that AC and LE do not want you to do so either. Talk about taking things from bad to worse....

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      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.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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?

                                        Comment

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