Rushing to Judgement

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Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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When I got my stable in Florida, Lil Darling came with it for a quarter. She was worn out, very old, tired.....and I loved her very much. I had her for many years. She was the barn mascot. Please read about her on my Rainbow Bridge page.

When she turned 43.....and yes, that is a very accurate 43 years old......she began to go down hill one week and bad and fast. One day she was just a fat old ornary pony, and the next day, skin and bones......that fast.

My vet said she was of course failing, but thought maybe he could stablize her with a vitamin shot and a few million other things including IV's. But we both knew the end was very close. In the three days in a row that the vet had come, my bill totalled $800. I didn't care.

I made arrangments for "the day" and also a backhoe.....we planned a day when no children would be around in the next few days.

Lil Darlin had a bad bought of diaherrea and I had her on the wash rack, cleaning it up. I had decided to wrap saran wrap on her tail and put it up in a tube sock to help keep her clean.

I had medicine all over the wash rack....what a mess.....bandages, bug sprays shampoos....just a messy situation. But I wanted her clean, to go in dignity.

Well a car came by with New York plates. Stopped and starred for quite a while, watching me. Drove up and down. Then it left.

Next day, here comes Animal Control. Got a report of me abusing a said I was starving a pony.

I was absolutely LIVID. How dare they??????

I showed him all the other horses there.....fat, shinny, 21 show horses.....why oh why would I do this to my pony???? Didn't make any sense.....we went round and round and finally I gave him the name of a county judge that I was a county agent under for impounding neglected horses......I was an impounding officer at the time for 4 counties. You could just imagine how upsetting this was to me. And then I shoved the bill in his face. About that time when things got out of hand, the vet came back again and set this Animal Control officer straight.

This shows you two things:

This is what happens when organizations do not communicate with eachother at all. This officer should have known me, and accepted my badge and credentials at face value and obviously he should have just looked around at the other horses there.

This is also what happens when people rush to judgement without talking or getting the story straight. These New York people could have just as easily not starred from the road, but came on in and spoken to me.

I just wanted to share this with you.
Marty I just have to chime in with similar observations. I was a state certified humane investigator( in Illinois you have to pass a course to be a volunteer investigator for a humane society)for 5 or 6 years, and almost all of the calls we got were from either misguided or vindictivecallers reporting people in situations such as yours, or just using the humane agency as a way to harass someone they had differences with. I got burnt out being sent on wild goose chases. Yes there is abuse and neglect in this world, but I am convinced after my experiences that most people try to do right by their animals. It is only a small minority who abuse and neglect their critters, and most of them(the abusers) suffer bigtime problems with mental illness, alcoholism, drug abuse or other things of that nature. I will say that when I approached most reported people

telling them i was there to investigate claims of abuse I was not recieved gladly or in friendly informative manner, except in few cases. Almost immediately I was treated to invective,threats, etc etc..... I got sick of apologizing and sick of going on calls that were not necessary, sick of driving all over with poor directions to someones house, spending my own money to be abused by people who were justifiably angry that someone accused them of neglect, etc. Yes there were some real abuse and neglect cases in there too, but they were the small minority. I will say that most well meaning people who call a humane society are reluctant to approach the owner themselves because they fear they will be "abused" the way that they fear the animal is being "abused". I gave up. Didn't have the stomach for that end of it.

we have run into several times what amounts to personal disputes between people that they want to call in rescue or animal control for revenge. since we dont have anything to do with confiscating horses we just dont even go there. we just try to get facts and lead them to the right avenue to report something. I am always leery and try to get all the facts because this has happened to us so many times.

and i have heard similiar stories of people with older horses getting turned in because lets face it older horses sometimes just dont hold weight and look bad. but id rather have someone wrongly turned in then risk not turning in a horse that really does need help. You know what i mean?? It is very hard for any animal control etc to confiscate a horse so its pretty easy to prove that you are not starving a horse if you arent. hope that makes sense!
well while i agree.. and i am sure it makes you a bit angry to be asked by animal control it is quite easy to prove you arent starving an animal and have been working with a vet and such.. but for the people who reported it come on now to think they should go to the person who they think is starving or abusing an animal and say hey i see you are starving this animal are you really? well that is not realistic.. sometimes the system is abused but ..better to show you arent and have people call ands report then the other way around
I"m really trying to tie this story in to the saga of the hungry mules. *see below* I am guilty myself of just assuming that they are being intentionally starved without trying to speak to the owners.......I"m on a guilt trip here for giving them that hay.

But in this case, these looky loos were from New York....this was in Florida...they were just out hunting property, saw what they saw, and turned me in.
For that reason I keep my mouth shut.

We have a neighbor horse that is skin and bones. However he does have food and water, but he is 30 years old and it is just time for him to go. He is not thin due to neglect but just due to age. I have not seen him now the last few times I go by there so he may have been laid to rest.

I also know of another situation, where some people had to listen to a horse die. The neighbors left town, knowing the horse was sick, and all weekend you could hear the horse thrashing and what not cause he could not get up. So finally they called the cops, the cops went out but I dont beleive they could put him down as they didnt have the owners permission. Finallythey came home and had him put to rest. After that you could watch as they hauled peice by peice of the dead horse out of there.
My first horse was an older 40+ year old 13.2hh. pony -- slaughter rescued. During the time I owned him he gained about 200 pounds and was at perfect weight, great condition, very spunky and keen for his age.

It seemed like over night he went down hill. The weight began melting off, losing muscle mass ... just skin and bones, but his spirits were still high and his appetite was good.

He was being seen by a vet, we were adding extra weight builder supplements and feeding him all of the food he'd eat to no avail.

Visitors would always comment on how thin he was and it made me angry that someone could think I was mistreating any of my horses, especially when they could look at my other horses and see a fat and sassy Thoroughbred and a Miniature mare.

When I'm driving by somewhere and I do notice thin horses or horses that look mistreated, I always take a look at the conditions the other horse(s) are in and definitely take note of the condition the horse(s) are kept in, you can get a good idea whether the horse(s) may suffer from a medical problem, etc. or it's simply neglect, but inexperienced horse people would never know, so you can't really blame them, I rather have them speak up and save a life than do nothing and let a horse continue to suffer.......
I had about the same thing happen to me with a husky I had. She was small for a husky. Only about 40lbs and she had short hair. I fed her the most expenisive food i could buy, tried giving her high protien diet she still did not gain weight. We lived by a bus station and i saw one of the workers there come over to the fence and notice her. I went out and talked with him for a few and that was that. A day later I had a call from the animal control saying i was starving my dog. I showed them the papers where i'd been to the vet. Took her to the vet again just to get a statement that she was in perfect health and nothing was wrong. That was enough but then they said i had to get better shelter........Seems its preferable that a dog be in a cold dog box rather than a heated/air conditioned shed.
I know!! that drives me nuts. years ago, i think i was 8-9 at the time we had a shepard that we adopted and was submissive. we tried to keep her, but we lived in the city, and she was gonna get hit by a car so we took her to the humane society. we'll they told my dad he had abused her because she was submissive!!! well sorry but every dog that we've owned has been submissive when you hover over it. Neither I or any member of our family has EVER hit one of our dogs! when i and my sister cried and cried cause we missed her, dad went back to get her and they wouldn't let us have her cause we "abused" her!!!
I agree with u completely Marty. People should not conclude that a horse is abused or starved just b.c it is thin. I have a 31 year old horse that is very thin and that is just from old age. We have had vets come up and look at him, we have tried tons of things to get some weight on him but I know that there is nothing more to do for him. I just let him live his life eating his grass and grain with his mare that he has been in with for 25 years until oneday he hopefully goes in his sleep or he becomes in pain that he needs to be put down. When a new farrier came up to trim my miniatures hooves he looked at my horse (the thin one) and then at me and my dad like we were horrible ppl and then we explained to him the horses age and everything. So I agree completely with you!

My 1st horse still lives at my moms house. Kahlua is 38 this year. If I were driving down the street and saw her I think I would keep an eye on her to make sure she was being taken care of properly. She is skinny, her weight comes and goes. She has periods where she will eat whatever you give her, then periods where she will only eat her carrots and grass. My mom buys 50lbs of carrots a week
The poeple at the produce store ask her how many horses she has since she buys a 50lb bag at a time. She also has a bucket that has a 10/10 sweet feed, a bucket that has senior feed, a bucket that gets her carrots (which are cut up into bite size peices) and molasses treats. She then has yet another bucket that has pellets with her Springtime supplements. She has a bucket of water to dunk in and a bucket of water to drink! She has to switch hay every so often since Kahlua decides she doesn't like it (good alfalfa). This horse eats better than my father
. She has made me think twice about other horses I see that are skinny. I saw a horse just yesterday at a local hack stable, it was an older draft horse. He is skinny, I will keep an eye on him to see how he is doing. He probably just came from the auction. All of the other horses there are in good shape, but I can see someone calling ths SPCA on them that doesn't know horses.
Yes....I know what you mean.

We have an older donkey(got him ~10 yrs ago, he was 30+ then) who, this past winter, has just gone downhill. For a while there he looked skin and bones. Fortunately, we got him on stuff that he likes and he is finally gaining a bit of weight. But for a bit, someone could have easily turned us in--despite the fact that 3 of the others(out of 4) were--ahem--fat. Including the mule that has no ribs....
Mom being a vet, it was certainly not neglect or ignorance. He got his teeth floated (and correctly, too) and we tried all sorts of grain/grass, etc. Turns out he likes alfalfa pellets, soaked just right, with a topping of Senior feed, also soaked (but not as much as the pellets). And then his 'keep happy' hay, since he can't really chew anything.

Oh yes, we are certainly abusing him...
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I hope this is okay to post here, feel free moderators feel free to move it, or to delete it if need be.

Sorry if its very long, and hopefully it isnt too hard to understand.

Well this spring has proved to be a trial with us. I had the month from H*** After 20 years of breeding horses, and other animals, we had NEVER had a visit from the SPCA, then bang, we were very much involved. It is kinda a sorted story.

We had leased 2 tbred mares, the deal was we were to get their babies. It took all of the spring and most of the summer to get them in foal. (one caught and foaled in april, the other left the end of may NEXT may, not even bagging yet). Well the first mare foaled (this spring), and it just didnt make it. It was the first non LWO baby we had lost in 20 years!!! Anyways, since the owner was not forthcoming in giving me a copy of the reg papers on the other mare, so at least when THAT foal was born, we would get it registered, I was getting pretty irate. I told her if she didnt give me the papers, she could come get her mares. (Of course, I wanted compensated for the 18 months of care and $400 in trucking of the mares, as she was not upholding her part of the contract and letting me have registered babies in return for their keep)

I called all local vets telling them NOT to come do the paperwork on ANY of horses on MY premises, unless they talked to me first, including the provincial vets.

So this lady, called the Police and told them she wanted her horses back and that they were not being looked after. One day when I was getting out of the shower, and had 2 minutes to get ready to leave and go to work, a police and a SPCA officer landed here. They said they had had a report my horses were not being looked after. I asked them if this had originated in XXXX state, they said yes. I proceeded to tell them, I was out at least $3000 for care for those horses and had nothing to show, she was withholding the reg paper copy I needed to register the coming foal.

They checked everything out and found everything fine, as she KNEW they would, as I was sending her pics of her mares every month. And told me they might have to return with the vets to have his record of my good care.

I called the provincial vet again to tell them, if the SPCA wanted to bring the vet here, no problem, but no coggins were to be drawn.

She came up with a copy of the papers, eventually (not yet the reg application I was going to need) and I allowed her to take the mare out of here, that had lost her foal. She agreed to let me keep the other mare til she foaled, and would send me the required papers to register her.

I told her I preferred she NOT use a certain vet, as he was a jerk, and overcharged, and She went ahead and got him

She had the vet come do paperwork, and the very morning that he landed here, I found an abcess that caused the mare a bunch of diconfort when she put her head down to eat, on her shoulder. I asked the vet what to do, he said, oh well, the good thing was she COULD cross the Canadian border into the states to go home, with an abscess, and to leave her be, the owner could look after it. Now, I dont know about YOU, but I dont leave something untreated, I was LIVID!!! I figured, I would get the vet to come the next day.

I came home from work the next day, and THAT mare was GONE!!! The vet had hauled her out of here for her owner. Found out later, the NON horse person that he was, it took 2 hours to load her!!! Found out later, also that when she got to the border, they turned her back, and she had to be treated before she could cross. I LIKE to be there, to load any horses in my care, and would have wanted to be there, especially if I knew it was him!!

A few weeks later, yet another lease deal went bad, but that is another story, where we had leased out OUR horses, we went and got them, as things were getting sticky. I was REALLY appalled at their condition when I picked them up, the stallion had been kicked and his penis was infected, and he was very underweight, a mare that foaled a week later (was due at the time) had every rib sticking out and you couldnt move the flesh over them. We had called the vet the day after we brought them home, he came and was appalled at the condition they were in. He thought the stallion had proud flesh on him!!

The next day , I came home , to find that there was a note from the SPCA AGAIN. Thinking that they had just came for a routine check, with the vet, I couldnt get ahold of the SPCA officer , so I got ahold of the vet, to make sure they KNEW that the horses that were thin and injured there, were not here from before, that they had just come home. I found out through the vet, that he had been contacted seperately by owner of the mare to do blood work and that they were not back on a recheck, but on a NEW call, turns out that the gal who was still 400++ miles away (the mare owner) called them AGAIN saying all my horses were injured. They brought the vet to come check them, she contacted the vet and got him to do the coggins and health papers on the second mare, that was SUPPOSED to be staying til she foaled!!! I was livid!!!!!

I put the mare in a safe place (so she didnt sneak HER away) for the weekend and negotiated with her owner I ended up with $1000 for my troubles, keeping 2 tbred mares for 18 months and $400 trucking it cost me!! I let her take her home, knowing I couldnt hold her hostage til she foaled and weaned her baby.

I reported the gal who had had MY horses, cause the vet recommended it, and found out through them (the SPCA), that the gal that had MY horses had been visitted by the SPCA 3 times in the time MY horses were there, and that the last time, if things hadnt changed, they were going to seize the horses!!!!!! I was VERY mad. Here I was being harassed by the SPCA and they told the mare owner in my case if everyone looked after thier animals like I did, they would be out a job, all the while my horses, that I had leased out to be able to afford to keep afloat, were being left outside with no shelter in VERY cold VERY snowy winter weather and no shelter and no sign of hay on several occaisions!

Well, I am happy to say with proper care, the stallion recovered, he will always have scar tissue on his privates, and is still gaining weight, the mare that was so thin, foaled a beautiful tobiano filly, it took til the filly was eating some creep feed consistently for the mare and the filly to finally cover their ribs (about 4 weeks). The tbred mares went home, I dont know if the second one ever had a foal.

I learned a valuable lesson, not only about leasing, but here it is. It REALLY scared me, that my horses might have been seized by the SPCA and sold and I would have been able to do NOTHING< and they would not have even known they belonged to me!!!!! If ANY of my horses, EVER are not in my care again, be it leasing (not likely to happen again anytime soon) or on payments where I can not VERY consistently monitor them, I will send a photo copy of reg papers as well as where they are, to the local SPCA so they will KNOW if they happen to have a call on them, to let me know!!!!

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