I'm told that the only real law regarding equine cruelty is that if the animal has "access to food, water, and shelter," it's "not considered abuse." I'd like to ask HF members how true this is. (I live in Illinois; I'm not sure if laws vary by state. It's also my knowledge that unless the horse is obviously malnourished or beaten, it will not be removed from the situation.)
I bring this up because of my farrier. Today he came to trim our pony and shod 5 horses. Before our appointment he was at a local rescue shoeing a Clydesdale. He told us how these drafts were taken from an elderly woman after her husband died because she could no longer adequately care for them. One of the horses had foundered so bad he couldn't stand on that foot and had to be euthanized.
This reminded me of a Curly horse not far from the state park, living with cattle. This horse looks as if he's never been groomed or trimmed, even in the summer heat, and he's foundered pretty badly (he spends most of his summer days standing in the creek). I haven't been in the area to check in on him. One of my friends had begged his owner to let her take the horse to a rescue but he declined. I fear the horse has died because of Laminitis.
In addition, there are also horses where a friend boards in severe condition. They have no water heaters and thus have to revert to eating snow (or licking ice) to get water. One of the horses recently suffered from a mild case of colic (he was reported to fall down, get up, and fall back down again -- repeat process) only to receive no adequate shelter (only a "barn" that has no sides) from the recent cold. We loaned the grandchild of one of the horse owners our [very expensive] blanket to give to the horse only to be turned down. Another one of the horses, the horse of the man who turned down the blanket, also has a large slice on his leg from a week or so back. My friend boards her horse there and told me of the injury, reporting that it was "***** and had frozen blood, looked like it should have had stitches." The owner did not call the vet and was using a cheap salve to self-treat the wound.
As opposed to giving the horse to the aforementioned rescue, the man plans to sell him come spring. If I were able to afford the horse I would take him before then.
My boss (the president of the company) suggests I go take a look at the horses myself, take pictures, and go to the authorities. But if the horse laws in the state are what I'm told they are, what authorities?!
Is there anything that I can do when I encounter horses in similar conditions? The local rescue is not one of "those" rescues that will go in and seize and animal for its mistreatment. I know of none such organizations that I can call. I hate leaving the horses in these homes and it breaks my heart knowing that I can do nothing to help them out of a degrading situation. However, I'd like to know more about the laws before I act.
Can anyone elaborate for me?
I did find the Humane Care for Animals Act (519 ILCS 70) (page 2, pp 5). Is this what I'm looking for?