Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Animal-Abusing Criminals


I actually wanted to call this post "ANIMAL ABUSERS SHOULD DIE", but I decided that this was a bit strong for an opener.

(Warning #1: there are photos included in this post that some people will find extremely disturbing.)

Now, I don't rant much. I don't get up on a soap box regularly to announce my opinions on the latest controversial subject. I am, however, quite passionate in my thoughts on animal welfare and I need to share something extremely upsetting that is going on quite close to me at the moment.

Let me just begin by saying....

Animal abuse is a criminal act.
Animal neglect is -without a doubt- a form of animal abuse.
What this means to me is that people who do not care for, or allow harm to come to, their animals through inattention, malicious or benign, are criminals. Any person who fails to provide the most basic of needs (food, shelter, safety) to their animals should be arrested and tried to the full extent of the law. I do not see any gray area here. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it for me.

I simply expect people to do right by the animals in their care. If a person finds him or herself unable to care for their animals sufficiently, it is their responsibility to locate a new home for them. Sadly, people frequently shirk this responsibility. I am distressed, sickened, and furiously angered every single time I see or hear stories of animals being damaged by humans.

In the town of Scio, Oregon (the very same town where the Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary is located that my son and I volunteer at), a horse neglect case has reared its ugly head. The sheriff’s office was recently alerted to seven horses being kept in a pasture less than two acres in size. Three of the seven horses are malnourished and in very poor condition.

You can read a local news story of this abuse case by clicking here: Case of malnourished horses under investigation.

Here's your second warning, the pictures below will be very hard to look at.

What you will see below is emaciation (note protruding spine and pelvic girdle) and severe rain rot:



The rain rot is covering most of this horse's back. This is not generally heard of during dry weather. Rain rot is caused by a bacterial infection that usually is only seen during wet weather. Her hair and skin actually peels off:

Look at the despondence in the eyes of this beautiful boy. Who knows the last time he wasn't hungry. Look at the debris he is trying to live amid:

Our sanctuary was contacted early on about this case and Wayne Geiger, the President of the Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary, has been involved daily ever since. Wayne recently issued the following statement:

"On August 6, 2008, reports of several starving horses surfaced from a small pasture containing nothing but dried stubble and weeds. The Linn County Sheriff Dept. served a “Search and Seizure Warrant” to the owner on August 9, 2008. Two of the horses arrived at the Sanctuary and one was returned to a “previous” owner. The horses will be held in “Foster Care” until the case is resolved. During this time the horses will be rehabilitated under the directions of the Sanctuary’s Veterinarian and care from the Sanctuary’s volunteer Staff."

These horses now actually have a chance at survival.

Here is "Pepper" upon arrival at the Sanctuary last Saturday, 8/09:

Details on "Pepper":
Age: 25
Condition: Needs major dental work in about 2 weeks - will work on improving her condition a bit first, though, as she will probably need to be transported the clinic. Needs hoof trim to help with thrush in hooves. Needs coal tar base shampoo for rain rot. Good gut sounds, lungs clear, heart good - no murmur. Stocked up in the hind end. Vital signs all within normal range (temp., respiration and pulse). 200 lbs underweight (!!) Body score - 1 out of 10.

Here is "Jacks" upon his arrival at the Sanctuary last Saturday:

Details on "Jacks":
Age: 10
Condition: Minor thrush in hooves - needs trimming. Vital signs - normal. Lungs - clear. Heart - clear (no murmur) Good gut sounds, Body Score - 2.5 to 3 out of 10

Here is the new clean and safe area set up for Pepper and Jacks at the Sanctuary:

Pepper looks a bit better after her "spa bath" to treat the rain rot. Lots of hair and scabs came off:

Jacks looked beautiful, but still very skinny, after his bath:

Two sweet horses, safe again, finally getting the food they deserve:

I am so grateful the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary exists for, if it didn't, these horses would face an uncertain future. This abuse case is generating significant local attention which is wonderful for these two horses, but incredible for the 160+ other animals living at the sanctuary also. It costs a lot of money to feed and shelter all these precious creatures and funding, as you might imagine, is always an issue.

Please keep your fingers crossed that people hearing about this story will value this sanctuary as much as I do and decide this is a place they would like to support financially!

Click on any of the links below to see some of my other posts about the wonderful Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary :

11/14/2007: Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary - A place to behold
1/18/2008: A belated "Thank You"
3/21/2008: A night out for a good cause
3/05/2008: This and that...oh, and the coop.

Jacks getting a well-deserved mouthful:

Photo credit: Wayne Geiger

18 comments:

Solomon said...

Ye gods.

I had no idea that the poor creatures could get into that state.

maternalgardens said...

Oh my! I have NEVER seen a horse in that condition before! That's awful and was hard to look at. "Jacks" is a beautiful horse and when he's up to snuff, he'll be a knockout! It good to see them being take care of. What a horrible start to life they had. I hope their future is nothing but the best of the best. Can you keep us up to date on them?

seasonseatingsfarm said...

I don't think your first title was too much. It works for me. We rescued a mare in worse shape, two working ponies with halters in their faces and others. This is unforgivable and inexcusable.

Farmer Jen said...

I've seen and heard of horses just like these. Ribs showing, poor coat, hooves untrimmed and even turned under making it difficult for the horse to walk. With proper intervention and rescue they really can recover and be healthy again. I road horses when I was a kid, and I've never even heard of rain rot. Maybe that's because I lived in a much drier climate. It's really good that you post about these things. It makes more people aware that this kind of abuse exists.

CadencedHoofbeats said...

How heartbreaking. :( I'm so glad these horses have a second chance. The last photo of Jacks and his hay is WONDERFUL. When I first brought my horse home, she didn't look much better than these guys, and nothing makes me happier than watching her munch on a big pile of hay!!! :D

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

I am reminded of the Jewish prisoners that our troops found in the concentration camps near the end of WWII. I'm glad rescue groups exist, but it's troubling that they exist to begin with. Best wishes for Jacks and Pepper. They're in loving hands now.

CeeCee said...

I'm so glad these criminals were caught! I don't think you have anything to fear from your readers thinking your response was too strong.
Both horses look as though things are going to be okay.

NW Nature Nut said...

Wow, that was a roller coaster to read. I went from shock, to anger, to teary eyes, to gratefulness that the Sanctuary exists. I heard about this on the news and thought of you when they mentioned Lighthouse. I was glad to see your post and to see the details. Good for you for being involved in such a great organization.

Zitrone said...

We are just ending a vacation day in Montana, and then to see these horrid, heartbreaking pictures. I do believe humans are the most cruel creatures on earth! Please let me know what I can do personally to help with these and other abused animals in our area. I will do anything I can when I get back. Thank you for your passionate compassion and involvement, Daniella.

warren said...

I heard that during last year's drought (and this year's too?), a lot of people chose not to feed their animals because of the cost of hay. That is no excuse of course, so keep an eye out and report too-skinny horses. Apparently neglect was way too common last year. It is sickening to think of animals being treated this way.

Susan said...

A heartbreaking story with, finally, a good outcome. Unfortunately, this is happening all over the country. People acquire these animals (and others like them) without the resources to take care of them. Thousands of horses are being set loose in several areas of the country, especially state parks, to fend for themselves, because the owners are no longer able to buy hay and feed for them. There should be a law that requires proof that a buyer can afford to feed and house livestock before they're allowed to purchase them.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Those pictures are so heartbreaking. I am glad they are in the right hands now.

Mellimaus said...

Oh, that is absolutely HORRIBLE! The poor horses! Thank goodness they're rescued-they look like they could use a good solid month of eating non-stop, lol! Poor guys! Jacks is actually a very pretty horse, and he's only 10! Hopefully they'll both clear up nice. It makes you wonder what in the world is wrong with these people! Terrible...

farm mom said...

I have seen horses similar to this before. In fact, I was shocked to see them still alive. It's gut wrenching. The animals I saw belonged to an amish family, and while the authorities were involved, I was told they were working with the family to improve the animals condition. I was told, they were allowed to keep the animals b/c of their religion and their "ways." Sadly, many people believe animals are property (and some believe ordained so by god) and they can be made to suffer horribly because of this proprietal belief. It's sickening and I am so grateful for sanctuaries like the one you're involved with. I hope these horses thrive at the sanctuary, and that the sanctuary continues to be supported by the community.

Egghead said...

I have never in my life seen horses that look that thin. This is so sad and it breaks my heart. People that do this really have no compassion or love for their animals. Why do they even want to have them? Thank goodness for places like the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary and for people like you that volunteer and care.

Mim said...

Danni,this is just heart breaking. We have a few neighbors that have horses and the living conditions are just not adequate in my opinion. Why? Why do people get animals that they can't take care of. Why do they get horses and then just put them in some muddy paddock and feel that's sufficient. I just don't get it.

Eve said...

I love your passion Danni and agree with you wholeheartly. The only things worse are child preadators. Now...where did I leave that electric chair.....

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I can never understand things like this. Thanks goodness their are organizations like the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary for animals like this to go to. I am with you that this IS a criminal act.