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Possible horse abuse?

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  • Possible horse abuse?

    Ok...so a farm down the street from mine has approx. 20+ horses on about 5-6 acres of land. The horses are kept in small, muddy (up to their knees almost), manure filled paddocks and have a round bale and have an open-walled metal roof structure for shelter (garage-like). She will have heavy blankets on them in 70 degree weather and nothing on them in freezing temps. The farm isn't in the city limits so there are no horse/acre restrictions. The humane society has already been called out to the farm by another neighbor, and said that since the horses had food, water, and shelter they couldn't confiscate the horses. I am deeply concerned for the health of these horses. I can't even imagine what kind of shape their feet are in. I have never seen anyone working with the horses or even out paying attention to them...(and I drive past this farm multiple times per day). The horses all look wormy, underweight, and depressed.

    Has anyone been through a similar situation? Do you have any ideas/suggestions to get this woman's horses away from her?

  • #2
    Not quite the same situation, but I did place a call about a farm I knew where every horse except the Appy Pony was thin. They fed the horses, but not enough... AC checked it out but because there was grain and hay on the property they would not do anything, even though the AC officer said the horses looked "pitiful" and were 3s at best.

    Comment


    • #3
      Keep calling the Humane Society. Be a squeeky wheel. They can do something about it, even if it's only a warning.
      Once when the HS wouldn't do anything, I called the police (I have only called the HS on a couple of people, it's not that I am freakishly over the top about this stuff- but it was needed).
      The police acted like they couldn't do anything, but I pressed them, can't quite remember what I said, but it was effective, and they went to the place.
      Even if they have shelter and food, it has to be adequate and it doesn't sound like it is.

      Comment


      • #4
        The RSPCA needs to be reminded, that it is all good that the horses have hay, water, and shelter...but often times they need pressing when it comes to the hooves...if they are in poor condition and the horses sore and or lame then they can get them on that. It is all good for the horse to have hay, water, and shelter but if it can hardly walk to them then that IS neglect.

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        • #5
          Keep calling to report them. Maybe the Humane society or county animal control will send somebody who actually knows something about horses. Keep track of how many times you call as well as ask for a follow up to let you know what the action was.

          Can you go to the county and complain about the filth? Flies? Odors? Can you file a complaint with somebody?

          You could keep track of this and go to the local prss with it-they love the "crazy lady keeps starving horses" headlines but you could end up under a slander suit if it is not as bad as it looks, so go careful.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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          • #6
            Unfortunately, the laws are really horrid. They can't have food or water for x number of days, depending on your county and state. And they have to be at death's door basically for animal control can do anything.
            But as the previous poster stated, you maybe can bug the county about parasites, smell, water contamination? That's a great idea.
            Even duct tape can't fix stupid

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            • #7
              Originally posted by luckofthedraw View Post
              Ok...so a farm down the street from mine has approx. 20+ horses on about 5-6 acres of land. Has anyone been through a similar situation? Do you have any ideas/suggestions to get this woman's horses away from her?
              Brit, I think I know the farm you're talking about. I need to go locate it, but I'll send you Frank's cell phone number tonight (he's the "horse" guy at Moore Cnty Animal Control, and seems to respond much better than the others at the place). Have you tried USERL? They are wonderful about informing people of how to take care of their horses, especially in situations like this, where the owner should (re: does) know but is choosing not to take care of the animals.
              Last edited by Glenbaer; Feb. 9, 2009, 06:23 PM.
              www.glenbaer.com

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              • #8
                Not sure about your state but in my state/county failure to take proper care of hooves and deworming falls under failure to provide proper veterinary care. And they can do something about that. Maybe you need to focus on how worm ridden they look and if you can ever get a look at any feet that might help.

                I guess you need to just keep bugging them.

                Or maybe call a news station and tell them about the situation and that nothing is being done about it by law enforcement.... whether it's because the laws are not strict enough or the officers are not properly following through.
                2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

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                • #9
                  Years ago I ran into the same situation and when a number concerned citizens received the same lame responses from the RSPCA we contacted the local media who of course were only to happy to report on an animal welfare issue. Of course this outraged the animal lover viewers who also put pressure on the RSPCA as well and finally the situation was addressed. It got much better but never perfect, but by virtue of this incident the RSPCA was much more receptive to calls about the same farm when their standards slipped below what was acceptable.

                  Horses are a tough thing for this organization...it is not a case of taking them away and putting them in kennels...they are expensive to care for when removed from the owner, and they are hard to foster or adopt out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have you called the local police (is that what you mean by animal control?)
                    In my area, calls like these require the police officer, a veterinarian and owner to meet and do an evaluation. If the vet determines it is a lack of education, there are no charges filed but the owner must still comply with all veterinary recommendations. There is a follow up visit to ensure compliance. If we determine there is intentional neglect, the owner is obligated to pay for veterinary care and the animals can be confiscated. Maybe call the local PD and ask them what the laws are for enforced veterinary visits....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have worked closely with rescue leagues and unfortunately they are right, if the horse has food, water, and shelter (a single tree counts), then there is little anyone can do. You have to understand that these things all go to court, where totally non-horse people decide the outcomes. Honestly, these judges have seen cows who when a normal weight have hip bones that stick out, they assume horses are the same. You honestly have to show these judges pictures of healthy horses to even turn the lightbulb on. If there are no signs of physical abuse like blood, giant wounds, pus etc. they just don't seem to see the harm. Hoof maintenance is required under most state laws, but again winning that case in court would be very difficult. A lot of times these horrible owners win their animals back at the end of the day and the rescue league has now wasted funds on the court case. Sad but true.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe another route to go would be the county Health Department. Or any environmental protection agencies you may have there for the manure, runoff (stream pollution0, etc, Keep at it!!! There's ALWAYS another way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Suspect Neglect? What to do . . .

                          Below is more info about reporting neglect and a link on the USERL website to do so. Once you file a report it will be sent out to the lead State Investigator and then they will farm out to an investigator in your area.

                          The USERL works with Animal Control agencies, and local and state law enforcement to assist in the investigation as well as provide shelter and care for horses they have seized as part of an animal cruelty and neglect cases. There is a great deal of information on the internet about identifying animal cruelty, state and federal laws protecting animals, and how to report it to your local law enforcement. Information listed below outlines basic information about neglect, and physical characteristics you can identify if you witness an equine that is suffering because of neglect or abuse.

                          If you need to report a case of suspected neglect or abuse, please contact your local law enforcement: Local and state police are able to enforce animal cruelty laws in your state. USERL provides additional information and a way to report neglect online.

                          http://www.userl.org/EquineNeglect.html

                          What is Neglect? Neglect is defined as failure to provide sustenance and care sufficient to maintain an equine’s good health. This includes food, water, shelter, veterinary and farrier care

                          I hope this helps!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by luckofthedraw View Post
                            Ok...so a farm down the street from mine has approx. 20+ horses on about 5-6 acres of land. The horses are kept in small, muddy (up to their knees almost), manure filled paddocks and have a round bale and have an open-walled metal roof structure for shelter (garage-like). She will have heavy blankets on them in 70 degree weather and nothing on them in freezing temps. The farm isn't in the city limits so there are no horse/acre restrictions. The humane society has already been called out to the farm by another neighbor, and said that since the horses had food, water, and shelter they couldn't confiscate the horses. I am deeply concerned for the health of these horses. I can't even imagine what kind of shape their feet are in. I have never seen anyone working with the horses or even out paying attention to them...(and I drive past this farm multiple times per day). The horses all look wormy, underweight, and depressed.

                            Has anyone been through a similar situation? Do you have any ideas/suggestions to get this woman's horses away from her?
                            You are detailing a disagreement in horse husbandry techniques - NOT abuse. At this time of year every thing is a muddy mess - especially on small acreages. As an investigator I find this situation all the time. The horses have food water and shelter. Just because you "think" they are depressed because they are standing in mud. And because you "think" they get no attention they deserve better - does not constituent a humane emergancy.

                            Here's a suggestion: Rather than rubber necking and making an internet post about abuse, stop by and see if the owner is up to the task. Perhaps they are elderly or overwhelmed. Perhaps they are new to horses and are in over their heads. Maybe they have a new baby! Maybe if you got to know them you would not be looking down your nose at them?

                            Just an idea. I am always stunned by the number of people who "call the authorities first" without having ANY grasp of what they are calling about.

                            Save my time for those who really need me please. This is a rough time to have horses. The rescues are FULL. The inspectors have real tragic situations to address.
                            "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I had a VERY similar situation when I was in school. I called all manner of AC agencies and again, food water and shelter means that they are being cared for. I called the sheriff who politely (NOT) told me that I was to stop harrassing those people. This farm had horses laying down due to the condition of their feet, but they had food water and shelter so all must have been right with the world.
                              Holly
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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                First off...A big THANK YOU to everyone who posted suggestions! I am looking into all of them.

                                Woodland- Actually, I know the people who own this farm. Other people in the "neighborhood" would agree complain about this woman too. She and her husband are not elderly, new parents, they have owned horses for a long time, and are known around town for being "deadbeats." I would certainly not jump the gun and post, if I didn't think it was a legit complaint. I live in the Sandhills of NC...home of awesome footing year round...so no, everything is not a muddy mess around here. And when the footing base of the gross paddock they are living in is manure, yes no drainage will happen. I am confident that if you saw the shape these horses are in you would agree that the owners are in the wrong.

                                These people are lazy and inconsiderate of their animals, i.e. don't deserve them. That's why I'm taking action...people shouldn't be able to get away with this.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  First off...A big THANK YOU to everyone who posted suggestions! I am looking into all of them.

                                  Woodland- Actually, I know the people who own this farm. Other people in the "neighborhood" would agree complain about this woman too. She and her husband are not elderly, new parents, they have owned horses for a long time, and are known around town for being "deadbeats." I would certainly not jump the gun and post, if I didn't think it was a legit complaint. I live in the Sandhills of NC...home of awesome footing year round...so no, everything is not a muddy mess around here. And when the footing base of the gross paddock they are living in is manure, yes no drainage will happen. I am confident that if you saw the shape these horses are in you would agree that the owners are in the wrong.

                                  These people are lazy and inconsiderate of their animals, i.e. don't deserve them. That's why I'm taking action...people shouldn't be able to get away with this.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    First off...A big THANK YOU to everyone who posted suggestions! I am looking into all of them.

                                    Woodland- Actually, I know the people who own this farm. Other people in the "neighborhood" would agree complain about this woman too. She and her husband are not elderly, new parents, they have owned horses for a long time, and are known around town for being "deadbeats." I would certainly not jump the gun and post, if I didn't think it was a legit complaint. I live in the Sandhills of NC...home of awesome footing year round...so no, everything is not a muddy mess around here. And when the footing base of the gross paddock they are living in is manure, yes no drainage will happen. I am confident that if you saw the shape these horses are in you would agree that the owners are in the wrong.

                                    These people are lazy and inconsiderate of their animals, i.e. don't deserve them. That's why I'm taking action...people shouldn't be able to get away with this.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Oh, you must live on my street! I have a neighbor just like that! Except it's about 45 horses & ponies on about 4 acres. AC drives by every day; it's my understanding that they lack enough hard evidence of actual neglect (v. a difference in husbandry, as mentioned above) to do anything. Food, shelter & water are provided. Veterinary care and farrier care are generally not provided but its hard to *prove* that; it's also an issue of having enough evidence to actually go onto the property and examine the horses to see whether or not their feet are terrible. Apparently AC can't just go examine each horse/pony to see whether they are being cared for or not - they have to have reason to believe that they are NOT being cared for unless invited onto the property by the owner.

                                      This is not a novice or ignorant owner, either. I hate to say that I sometimes hope a horse gets out or drops dead by the road so there is more reason for AC to investigate. That's sad.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would definitely contact the local EPA....call it an environmental emergency or nusiance. They are all in a tither about funding right now, and cracking down on everyone and everything.
                                        Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
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