|Posted by BTFL on September 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM|
The start of this huge rescue started when I received this email plea for help on August 24th, 2012.....
Yesterday I stumbled upon a neglect situation with approximately 25 or more mini horses, mini donkeys, and 1 Morgan stallion. According to the owner, 10 of these animals are stallions that he keeps, 24/7, tied to a bar with a very short rope or chain(maybe a foot long, if that) or in a small stall with NO water and most without food. The Morgan had straw-like hay that he wasn’t eating. The man said the stallion was 20 and that he couldn’t keep weight on him. (I’m guessing he wasn’t eating due to lack of teeth care, based on the neglectful conditions I saw.) At least two of the stallions had overgrown hooves that had not been cared for in some time. The man said he couldn’t keep up with them – he does them himself – and he refused the offer of my friend to help him do the trimming right then and there. “Liability”, he said; a legitimate claim. When asked about the water – there was a half barrel of muddy brown water behind one of the mini donkey stallions – the man said he took them out once a day to get a drink. There were no open windows or fans in the barn. Outside there were two groups of animals in the pasture. Both groups were a mix of mini mares – horses and donkeys - with their still nursing-aged babies tagging along behind. As we began to go out into the pasture to look at them, they started coming in. Several mares had overgrown hooves as well and all had big round bellies from not being wormed. Many, especially the babies, had matted twisted knots of hair full of burrs. My friend tried to pick up an overgrown hoof of one of the mommy donkeys. The donkey pulled it away.
At the fence line, (the one with the gate having broken and twisted, rusty bars with sharp ends), was another group of mini mamas and their babies. Two of the little horses were a bit bigger than the others – closer to Shetland size. The man told us that the mare was half Haflinger and the other, her yearling, was the daughter of the Morgan stallion. Her and her younger brother from this year were “already sold” he said. The younger brother was laying in their straw-like “food” taking a nap next to mom as she ate the “hay”.
While my friend and I inquired about a mom and colt pair we carefully slipped in questions about care, how did he come by so many animals, how did he manage to take care of so many, what would have to be done to fix the feet, offers of help from a rescue we knew in the area, etc. It was quickly evident that people with rescue in mind had approached him and “pestered [him] all the time”. “They [were] better off here than dumped on the road” he said. People just didn’t want them anymore and would come “drop them off” or ask him to take them. When we threw out $100 as an offer for a pair he said he wanted $150. Later he said he would take $3000 for the lot of them. We asked if he had enough hay for the winter. We had already guessed the answer.
Later, when speaking to the police officer taking our report, I realized that he was blowing me off before I even finished my first sentence. I’m sure that you folks have seen plenty of situations like this and much, much worse. I’m sure that you have been even more frustrated than I felt after speaking to the officer and the local Humane Society. I’m also very aware that rescues are already struggling to find enough hay for the animals you already have. It had been my intention to adopt a horse this year. My husband and I have spent the summer building a barn and we are still putting up fencing. Then, I went to this man’s farm. I’m not asking you to rescue them. What I am asking for is advice and help getting the word out to the horse community to not give this man any more animals. And to help me find homes for them. I am in no position to care for all of them either, even if I could come up with the $3000. I can go and save two of them. I will have to give up my dream of having a trail horse but I feel this is more important. My friend, who already has 3 rescued goats, two rescued dogs, one rescued mini and numerous rescued cats besides feeding and caring for feral cats, has no means to take in yet another. However, she has found someone who would pay for the half Haflinger mare and take her. We can’t go in one at a time and purchase them because that will just encourage him to keep breeding them. I’m hoping that with your help and that of horse people we know that we can find enough folks willing and able to take and care for one or two. As a group, we scrape together what we can; we buy him out; and we get the word out NOT to give him ANY MORE!!! This probably sounds incredibly naïve and silly to you who have already been trying so hard to save as many as you can for so many years. I certainly understand if you are unable to help find homes and appreciate all that you already do.