It also merits mention that we, as equine advocates, have the obligation to stand up for what is right.
If we choose to stand by and watch such things happen, are we not contributing to the problem?
If we take no action, or our actions are ineffective, are we not condoning such practices by default?
Make no mistake, I am NOT advocating a military or violent style action, despite what some may think.
The OP is playing it pretty well, in my opinion, though I would likely have been a bit more decisive and forceful in my own actions.
If the law doesnt support what is right, go to bat to alter the law.
Personally, I despise HSUS. That does not extend to local humane societies, which actually take action to help animals live quality lives, and execute their missions fairly well.
We have 3 dogs and 3 horses in our family.
They are all very well cared for, sometimes spoiled rotten.
Unfortunately, not all folks value animals as we do.
Our choices are to stand by and do nothing, educate people on how to better care for their animals, or, in extreme cases, compel those who neglect their animals to give them up by choice, or by lawful compelment.
Nothing says that we can't raise a stink when we see cases of inhumane treatment of animals.
Be that a cordial discussion with the owners, or organizing a public demonstration to persuade corrective action.
Each situation is different, the mentalities of all parties involved are subjective to the given situation, and the appropriate actions are dependent upon all the factors of each individual situation.