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Neglect/Abuse just down the road

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nootka

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This person is or calls themselves a professional horseman (runs a rental string nearby). They purchased some land near us a few years ago.

I drive by on my way to town a few times a week. Noticed the little horses, which are probably small shetlands rather than minis, the drafts and mules, donkeys, etc.

The past six months or so, the numbers of horses has been declining, and the place looked somewhat decrepit from the road.

I received a disturbing email from a friend, who noticed that the address was very near mine, and this was posted on a National Forum for Abuse/Rescue. I went right over.

Turns out the numbers were not right (they had said 70-80) and there were no obviously dead carcasses of equines, BUT....this is not right:



This is where a Belgian draft horse is kept. I am pretty sure this horse has been owned by this person for several years if not more. I know it's not very clear, but look at his hip, then look to where his tail should be. He was covered in rain rot. The general area is very unkempt, mucky and full of debris like junk trucks, cars and tools.



This is the front "lot" a/k/a a mucky driveway out by where the Belgian is kept, where there is a very tall (mammoth jack?) donkey is being kept. (you can see the draft in the background in the building) The donkey is not old, but has lice and is severely underweight. Here's a view of this donk's feet.



(IMO, you do not let a horse stand on those feet for a SECOND let alone turn them out into a mucky, dirty lot with them like that...have them trimmed IMMEDIATELY).



A pic of a donkey that was in the front pasture, where there was also at least one mini mule/shetland that has been there for at least 6 months. His feet were curled up longer than most of the rest, so I know that a: he was either born there or has been there for the year or so, and b: he's never been trimmed, possibly not handled based on his skittishness.

There is also a long strip of metal roofing that is in that pasture that this poor guy was scrabbling about on and it's a wonder he didn't cut himself on it. I think he may be "intact" as he was being very aggressive and nearly kicked/clobbered by a very large TB/QH build horse (that looked to be in "fair" condition) due to his aggression and then alternate baby behavior.



A pic of the back of a full size horse. I looked in the mouth of a few of these, and none appeared old.

There was also a beautiful young percheron mare with a brand new mule foal at her side. She was in this dangerous pasture (strands of barbed wire, falling down gates and the metal roofing/siding loose buckets, etc.).

A mutual friend of mine contacted them (we are both shocked) and the "excuses" given were:

"A former employee's father in law is crying abuse"

"they take in old/unwanted horses and can't keep weight on them"

"the bones are from deer carcasses thrown out there so someone can shoot coyotes that come out to eat them"

"the sheriff came and gave all horses a clean bill of health"

(I'm sorry but I don't see clean bill of health in at least three of those sets of hooves, they are downright painful/unhealthy and need IMMEDIATE attention).

There is no one living at this address, so who's there to shoot coyotes?

UGGGGGGHHHHH.

I dont' think anyone should be taking in any horses unless they were prepared to give them a decent quality of life. I don't see that happening.

I did call the sheriff and intend on more. I hope to find the answers to some of my questions, soon. Such as why those feet were not trimmed, and have not been. This has been going on for some time.

Sorry to vent, I'm just shocked and didn't realize how much I was missing seeing as I drove by on my way to town.

Liz
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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What the heck is the matter with people! If you can't afford to care (or can't be bothered ) on the animals you have you sure can't justify getting more. And if you can't afford a farrier right now (or in the last year
) then spend 30 bucks and get some nippers and take the length off yourself until you save enough to have them done by a professional. No horse should be left in that shape. I turned in a neighbour last fall because every time I drove past her place I would see her horse tied to a tree and it just kept getting thinner. I asked that they either help her learn how to care for the horse or help her let it go to someone who would. It was at a local rescue within a week. At least she wasn't trying to say she was a professional in the horse industry. Shame shame on them.
 
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OMG sooo much abuse for no reason
. Don't beat yourself up for not seeing it sooner. We all should take a good look around our areas and not close blind eyes. You care enough to stop the neglect and that is GREAT! Just don't give up until you get results. GOOD LUCK!!!!
 

nootka

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We called the County Sheriff again, today. As of an hour and a half ago, something is being done to send trained assessors over there.

I hope to h*ll they can see that the Belgian needs to be taken to a veterinary facility and/or euthanized (I couldnt' get close enough to determine his true condition, but if he can't recover/gain weight, then he is too far gone to be standing in that much waiting to die from whatever's ailing him, which appears to be rain rot and lack of food), and the others need their feet trimmed RIGHT NOW.

I'll let you know what I see from this end.

Liz
 

Margo_C-T

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Good for you, Liz! This kind of thing is more and more common with the way everything in the economy is going, but that doesn't mean it is in any way acceptable/forgivable, IMO!

Please keep us posted--and you may find you have to 'keep after' local law enforcement--we've all seen too many stories of how they really DIDN'T deal with such a situation....

You have my admiration for taking action once you became aware of the problems!

Margo
 

ThreeCFarm

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Please keep us posted--and you may find you have to 'keep after' local law enforcement--we've all seen too many stories of how they really DIDN'T deal with such a situation....

Margo
While I agree something needs done about this situation, and sometimes maybe law enforcement may fall down on the job, PLEASE keep in mind that there are laws that must be followed, even by the law themselves. Just because it may appear that law enforcement isn't doing anything, doesn't mean they aren't. But by all means, do continue to keep in touch with them, but don't give them a hard time just because they aren't doing what you want them to do. Just keep an open mind, that's all I ask.
 

nootka

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I have not given them a hard time, by any means, just making sure that they know that those hooves being trimmed would be a HUGE improvement on those horses' lives and offering to go worm them.

The hay they have is smelly and moldy, but it's considered food, and they are technically out on pasture (which is very low in food value right now w/all the rain we've had).

Anyway, I noticed today that I didn't see any of the donkeys or mules (maybe the owner took them this morning), and there is a brand new no trespassing sign.

We did go in there yesterday, but only because we "knew" these people and were more concerned that someone had died or fallen ill, it seemed so out of character. I will not again go on their property, but will observe from the road and make sure something is being done. This time, I'll bring my binoculars.

I don't believe the stories being told, as I said, I've seen some of these horses there for months, possibly years.

The place is in too much disrepair to honestly believe they had any business taking in rescues.

I'll let you know what I hear, as I plan on calling tomorrow to hear what the assessors found, and I'm curious to see if the donkeys were removed as I think they were. Their feet were the ones that were really cruelly neglected, and the one mammoth was the skinniest of the donks as well as having lice and bad feet.

Liz
 

Miniv

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Liz,

The donkey's feet that you showed? I can tell you from personal experience with an abuse/neglect case it was probably TWO years since its last trim.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the authorities are able to do something....... Technically, the horses and donkeys fall under the basic "livestock rule" which means if there is a hunk of hay (moldy or not) on the property, and a working water source (even if the troughs are dry and the horses don't know how to turn on a nozzle!) not much can be enforced........ :arg!
 

Crabby-Chicken

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After talking to Liz last night,,, it is so sad. But everywhere there are more stories of this. It doesn't make any of the cases of neglect any less important to those animals. I hope it gets resolved soon. Sounds like this man makes his living with these animals. Hope he owns up to his responsibilities now.
 

nootka

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I suppose this is what's frustrating: the horses are on pasture, only two of the animals, the Belgian in the stall and the large donkey were penned away from fresh graze, and there are sloughs and puddles of standing water as well as hoses, etc.

There is more than enough water for them, and likely food, too, IF they were wormed, and IF they were also getting some kind of grain, which I saw no evidence of.

No matter, to me, if an animal obviously has something causing discomfort that could easily be remedied such as those hooves (that to me is extreme. I didn't know it might be TWO years, was guessing 6 months to a year on the donk's feet), the lice and the rain rot/worminess, there's something badly amiss.

Yes, he makes a living with horses, donkeys and mules, and yes, fuel is expensive, feed's expensive, but there are alternatives and when your daughter trims hooves for a living, I dont' see much excuse not to have that part done at the least.

I will check in later today, and try to get a visual on everybody on my way home from town.

Liz
 

Shari

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Glad you are trying to get the animals help Liz. If the owners do not do some improving.. you can also see about the local newspaper doing a story on the animals.

It is just sad in this day and age that people get animals and either do not know how to care for them properly or don't care or too pridefull to ask for help if they get in over their heads or loose a job.
 

fourhorses

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I've heard about this case, read sheriff's comments, etc. That you took the time to get involved makes you my hero of the day.
 

nootka

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Well, our local newspaper ran a story on Tuesday about these horses and donkeys.

It is said that the owner is running a "hospice" for neglected and unwanted animals.

Personally, I don't agree with everything that the paper has said about it, and feel it's someone trying to put a spin on an unseemly situation.

I looked in the mouths of a few of the animals, and know for a fact that most of them were quite young.

I still do not believe for a second that several of them should have spent one minute in a "rescuer's" possession and kept their feet in that condition. I would have arranged to have them trimmed or at least nipped part of it off, myself, if I truly considered myself a rescuer.

I cannot imagine having to stand on those, and all of that muck....

the fact remains that the hay in front of them was terrible quality and it was also far too little of it and only in one place for such a mixed herd of animals: a nursing/newborn foal and mare, an aggressive little intact mule pony, a few full sized geldings, a miniature donkey with awful feet. I would think anyone who didn't at least separate this herd for their safety would have scattered the hay piles so they could eat without the fighting and probably injury.

Anyway, I am still going to keep my eye on them, and hopefully the attention has spurred them to realize that people are watching them, and they need to up their standards of care.

I hope that Belgian is getting better treatment, he really was in low shape, and the large donkey. I don't know where they have gone, if they are still on the property or have been moved.

Thanks, everyone, I am hoping this situation is mostly resolved, but don't feel "right" about it, completely.

Liz
 

Margo_C-T

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Liz-

I believe this same situation has drawn 'national' attention via a blog I read....the sheriff has been quoted, and to put it kindly, he sounded a FOOL, and as if joining in a 'spin'....I hope you will be part of those who keep pressure on about this! There is NO excuse for animals to be in the conditions such as you showed photos of, and as have been posted on the blog I visit---"HOSPICE"? NOT ON YOUR TINTYPE!!!

All I can say is that most locales should be ASHAMED of the lack of 'teeth' in what humane laws that exist(and I INCLUDE my own state in that indictment, BTW....esp. in the 'large animal/livestock' department...it's downright pitiful!) I FULL WELL realize that ANY law enforcement can ONLY do what their applicable law allows, but that doesn't excuse blatantly 'taking the side' of someone who CLEARLY is in the wrong, and further, putting out a statement that 'brushes aside' the evidence of people's OWN EYES!! Hey--I KNOW how 'off base' some of the uneducated public can be; there are people who are horrified to see a driver even CARRYING a driving whip, because of total misconception--but about ANYONE should be able to recognize, and moved to action, by STARVATION AND GROSS NEGLECT!!!

Sorry if I descended into a rant, but this stuff REALLY 'rings my bell', ESPECIALLY when there is 'official denial'!

Hang in there, Liz, and whoever else who is THERE TO SEE AND KNOW!

Margo
 

Marty

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What a hero ! Way to go Liz.

CMHR is working on a couple cases like that now that would make your head spin and we had that same deal go on last year.

Just a mess that not many people care to clean up. Never stops.

You did GREAT Liz. Many thanks.
 

nootka

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I went out there tonight and sat on the road in front in my truck w/my binoculars and looked everyone over.

There are now way more horses than we originally saw (pasture out back), and some of the donkeys have moved around.

The one donkey I pictured above has had its feet trimmed. The mammoth jack hasn't. It was in a different pasture, as was the little (suspected intact) mini mule.

The Belgian is still hanging in there, but just looks miserable, even from a long distance. Someone else had taken better pictures of this guy. He's just a breath away from death from the looks of it. I feel pretty helpless just watching.

Our DA says that things are being watched, and a vet is going to the farm. I intend on calling my vet to see if he's the one, and see what he thinks.

I have the feeling this is a lot of "covering up" for some neglect and/or taking on too much.

There's just too much that doesn't add up.

I wish there was some guideline as to what to follow. At least the weather's improved, some, for those that are outdoors and in the mucky pastures. All the pastures here are mucky, it just seems worse when they're mostly so skinny and some have such bad feet.

Thanks for the votes of confidence. Hopefully this is the point in which things are turned around for these particular horses.

Liz
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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Liz,

I had been receiving updates on this farm because of a rescue email list that I'm on. I had NO IDEA it was so close to you! It's just sickening. I've read quotes from the sheriff and he came across like a careless jerk!

You're doing the right thing. I'm thankful there are people like you out there!
 

Marty

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People like this are very crafty sometimes.

They sure do make horses "disappear" and then reappear when they think the heat is off.

They will move them to other locations in the night and yes sometimes the law is just as

guilty as they are for covering stuff up.

Keep watching and try to take a video. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

In some states, Florida being one, a citizen used to be allowed to venture on someones

property for a "humane reason as to save a life". Don't think that one is on the books anywhere anymore. One thing does work and that is the media exposure.
 

nootka

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Yes, it's very close. I'm 88290 Youngs River and it's 89729 Youngs River.

The way the properties go, it makes it about a mile and a half away as you drive.

I didn't realize the situation was so grim-looking.

If this person's heart is in the right place, I don't know that they realize that rescuing from one crappy situation to another slightly less crappy one is not necessarily the "best" they can do.

I'll keep checking, and see what is the reality about the situation as I inquire.

The DA is just sending out a copy and paste reply to emails for the most part.

I don't think the sheriff "doesn't care" I just think he doesn't really know any better. He didn't know what a farrier was when my husband was talking to him.

Liz
 

BigDogs & LittleHorses

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Good job, Liz!

What a depressing mess. Glad the heat is on them now. I don't understand neglect on that level, here in the US.

There are some people on here who really make a fuss over their animals, each and every day, calculating and adjusting just the right amount / type of feed for each animal, brushing their coat, mane & tail to perfection & really bonding with them... Studying pedigrees, keeping a spotless barn. Good for them!


But it is amazing how well the animals will do on their own with just good, common-sense basic care.

Daryl
 

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