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Neglect... to report or not to report?

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  • Neglect... to report or not to report?

    I'm using an alter lest someone label me "evil" and keep sending me PMs ever day for the next month...

    Ok, so I have my horses at home on a property that wraps around a neighbor's small property. My neighbors have several horses... two geldings (I think- I've not inspected from close up!), a mare with a foal, and a stallion. The stallion lives down the street on a nice field with good grass. He looks great. The mare and foal look ok, maybe not the best, but it looks like somebody's trying (fresh-ish flakes of hay & clean water the last few times I've snooped). The other two are in the very back of their property, in dirt pens (maybe 15' x 40')... in a spot where they can ONLY be seen from the woods on my property. From the road, you wouldn't know they were there.

    These two have always been a bit skinny, though I've suspected that the boniness, ewe necks and generally unkempt appearances comes from being VERY poorly bred. Anyway, I try to keep an eye on them when I ride by on the trails, and I've noticed over the last few months that they're looking worse and worse. Very bony. Not quite the death's-door appearance that you sometimes see on rescue threads, but I can count all ribs and see the backbone from a ways away. I don't know if they're given any feed, but there are small round bales of old, icky hay on the other side of the fence that they can reach, so I see them eating from that. They're very energetic and always come flying to the fence to see me. (Possibly saying, "Help me?") Without being VERY obvious, it's hard to guage just how bad they are... but they're not pretty.

    I've considered reporting them so many times (who DO you report to? Animal control?), but the thing that has stopped me is knowing that, since the horses are only visible from my property, it would be very obvious who was to "blame" if they got in trouble. These are my neighbors. I have to live next to them. They are not the type that's going anywhere else anytime soon, if you know what I mean. The woman is very old, and the horses belong to her son that "lives" down the street but is at her house most of the time (whenever he's not bugging us to borrow money, or get work, or something). The woman is also the grandmother of one of my middle school students, and I know her parents have a history of being somewhat vindictive... I just really, really don't want to start something that's going to turn ugly, because I'll have to live with it for a LONG time.

    My boss, who is a long-time horseman and a good guy, thinks I'm crazy for even considering calling. He's afraid that the neighbors would retaliate and come after MY horses.

    So what would YOU do? Honest opinions.

  • #2
    I've had the most luck when I stopped and left a note on the porch of a family w/an emaciated horse. As I said in my note (and you can say in yours) "I can tell you care for your animals because the others are in good condition. I am concerned for your skinny gray horse. I have horses, and if there is anything I can do please let me know" To my surprise the woman called me and I was able to give her some general advice as well as links to helpful sites. She kept me informed, and ended up switching vets.

    Anyway, I would not start by reporting them, I would try and be neighborly. You can always step it up if they don't respond well.
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    • #3
      Honestly, I'd try to strike up a conversation with the owners and suggest they need more feed/better hay. "Hi, how are you, how are your horses, i just love your little stallion. I was out checking fences the other day and noticed that x and y seem to have lost a lot of weight. Are they ill? Have you tried giving them a or b? Maybe your round bales would be better if they didn't get wet? I could bring over some snacks and help you build a cover?"


      • #4
        Since they belong to the son and he's always wanting to "borrow" money, ask what he'll take for the two "old horses". If he says they aren't old, look confused and say they sure look old, being so skinny and all.


        • #5
          You are a teacher and he is asking you for money and work?

          Hey, you have the upper hand, just tell him no, you don't have any right now, but "hey, what's up with those two skinny horses back there, they sure seem to have been going downhill lately.
          What are you doing about that?"

          Flat confront him about it, then sweeten it by keeping talking and telling him his mother's other horses look fine, so must be something wrong with the hay those are getting, or what does he think is happening?
          Let him tell you and go from that.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
            You are a teacher and he is asking you for money and work?

            Hey, you have the upper hand, just tell him no, you don't have any right now, but "hey, what's up with those two skinny horses back there, they sure seem to have been going downhill lately.
            What are you doing about that?"

            Flat confront him about it, then sweeten it by keeping talking and telling him his mother's other horses look fine, so must be something wrong with the hay those are getting, or what does he think is happening?
            Let him tell you and go from that.