Friday, January 16, 2009
This is what a healthy properly fed horse should look like.
Tomorrow (if I'm able) or the next day, I'll post a picture of what I'm angry about.
We live in the Pacific NW, in an area where we get a lot of snow, cold weather, freezing rain and wind. Not a fun place to live outside, in winter.
I want you to imagine yourself with a light-weight jacket with a thin lining, living outside with bare branches as your shelter. No fir boughs that break the wind or stop some of the rain from hitting your back, just bare, leafless orchard trees. Now imagine yourself with your water tank frozen over and two feet of snow on top. You don't have water, so you eat the snow.
Now imagine living outside, eating snow, having only a light weight jacket on, and getting tossed one meal every 2-3 wks. Are you shivering and hungry yet? OK, now you're desperate and you start stripping the bark off the trees for nourishment, you huddle against the side of a small shed that's kept closed, and where a few bales of hay reside....but aren't being thrown out so you can get it. You paw through the deep snow, now 2 1/2 ft deep, praying to find something underneath to eat.
Getting the picture yet? My daughter, her husband and I have been keeping an eye on 7 horses on the outskirts of our small town that are slowly being starved.
Yes, we've called the Sheriff. The deputy assigned to the case went home sick the day after it was assigned. They're short handed, so didn't give it to anyone else. She was out for a week. We got tired of seeing the horses getting thinner, and took 100 lbs of hay down and tossed it over the fence. When the deputy came back (and another one finally went out to check 10 days after our report), they saw the remnants of the hay we'd tossed and assumed they were being fed. Case closed.
But not for long. I've been calling and being a thorn in their side every 2-3 days, asking for updates, demanding (nicely) to speak to the person currently investigating. Today I finally got a call back...2 wks to the day from my first report. Understaffed and other cases got in the way.
Yes, I do understand, people's needs to have to come first. But at what point do starving animals become a priority?
Today I took them more hay. I told the deputy the hay they saw was MINE...that there's only been one feeding in the past 3 wks by the owner. They promised to 'look into it' some more.
If nothing happens, my next step may be a letter to our local paper. If that doesn't work, maybe a few posters scattered around town with pictures of the horses and the names of the owners. No one seems to know who they belong to at this point, as they've been moved a couple of times to empty pastures with no house attached. The deputy says they're working on finding out. We can hope. In the meantime, I'm making calls of my own to discover who they belong to.
Hay isn't cheap and I have my own horse to feed, and my daughter and her husband (who are also helping) have three. But we can't see these animals starve to the point where they're skin and bones and unable to walk. Two are seriously lame now, probably from unattended injuries.
OK....I've ranted enough. I'll post an update when I have one. Not sure I can get close enough to the horses to get a decent picture, but if I do, I'll post that too. Thanks for listening, and hopefully caring as well. When they shut down all the horse packing plants, it put many, many horses in this situation with owners who can't afford to feed them, or just don't care. Horses are starving across this entire country.