What would you do?
This is a question about calling animal control.
I'm really torn here, and I'm going to give a bit of background, so thank you for reading.
A few years ago (10 years or so), when we got back in to horses, I met this woman. I'm going to call her Jenny for sake of simplicity.
My dad bought me an 18 month old gelding (out of guilt for selling my pony when I was young). I took him out to the pasture where the horses were kept, to show him what he had bought for me, and he liked the 4 month old that was also there, and had me handle the purchase for my mom.
Shortly after that I met Jenny. Jenny was an experienced horsewoman, and we became friends. I sent my horse out for professional training, and my mom became friends with Jenny, and had her help her with ground manners, ground driving, lunging, tacking, etc.
One day, while Jenny was at our place, I needed to soak my horse's hoof (he had an abscess), so I asked her to hold my horse while I cleaned his hoof prior to applying the boot. He pulled his hoof away while I was cleaning it, and she kicked him in the knee (she was wearing boots). I was EXTREMELY angry that she had kicked my horse, though she insisted he was trying to strike her. I told her that she was never to kick my horse, and if she didn't feel comfortable handling him, then she could simply drop the lead and say so. I put the horse away and walked home. This caused a small issue between my mom and myself, though we are both fairly rational adults and agreed to disagree. I didn't allow Jenny to handle my horse after this, though my mom continued to avail herself of Jenny's assistance.
One day I went with my mom to Jenny's house to watch a lunge lesson with my mom's horse (now nearly 2). Jenny proceeded to put a stud chain on the horse with a snaffle ( stud chain strung through the snaffle, under the chin like a curb chain) and side reins, and lunge him, jerking severely on the chain any time that the horse had any sort of issue (wrong lead, too fast, etc.). I walked away, nearly in tears, and went home. I talked to my mom later, and she agreed that Jenny had been too harsh, and sent her gelding to a well-respected local trainer. About a year later, Jenny sent her mare to the same local trainer. The mare foundered less than a week after arriving (Jenny likes to feed free choice sweet feed, don't get me started) and blamed the farrier for 'trimming wrong' and causing her horse to founder. The trainer sent the horse home.
Fast forward to 7 years (or so) later. One of my daughter's grandmothers had horses, lets call her Veronica. She couldn't afford the farrier and knew that I had been learning how to trim from MY farrier, so asked me to come trim her two mares, who were seriously overdue, since she couldn't afford to pay the farrier because of her divorce expenses. I went and did the best I could, and advised her that she would certainly need a REAL farrier to come and help her mares, as I was inexperienced at best. I also advised her that her older mare (34) was severely underweight at the height of summer, and I felt she should put her down. She was unwilling at that time, but did take my advice and put her down before fall.
The following spring, Veronica had to move and no longer had a place to keep her remaining mare. She called me (I am well connected in the local equine world), to see if I knew of anywhere she could move her. The only place I could think of was Jenny's place, where I felt sure that Veronica could keep the horse, for minimal charge, until a more suitable place could be found. I helped Veronica move the horse and felt I had done my best to help. A few months later, I found out that Veronica had sold the horse to Jenny.
Its been about 2 years since I trimmed Veronica's mare.
Today my mom called me. She said that our old farrier (great, caring individual) had just been out to Jenny's place to trim the horses, I think there are three of them. The farrier, lets call her Amanda, said that she didn't believe that the paint mare had been trimmed in at least 5 years (since Amanda last trimmed her, right before she became lame, having foundered, which Jenny blamed on Amanda's lack of farriery skills). I asked my mom if Amanda had called animal control. My mom spoke to Amanda, and she sent pictures of the paint mare's hooves to my mom.
I've personally seen pictures of these hooves, and they are AWEFUL!! Not quite 'elf slippers' but **** close. I asked my mom if Amanda had called Animal control. Apparently, Amanda hasn't. Amanda said she took approximately THREE FREAKING INCHES off of the paint mare's hooves today,and told Jenny's daughter that she would be back in two weeks. Amanda gave Jenny's daughter specific instructions on what needed to be done between now and then, and left.
Apparently the mare that Veronica sold to Jenny is so obese, it appears that her tail is coming out of a dimple in her rear end, but the mare is sound and just needing some frequent trimming otherwise.
So if you've gotten this far, here's the question: My mom sent me the pictures of the paint mare's feet. (Amanda sent them to my mom, and told her she could call animal control if she felt the need.) Amanda plans to go back to Jenny's place in two weeks and give the horses hooves more attention, and if Jenny hasn't done what was advised, call animal control at that point.
The hooves are incredibly bad, however, Jenny did finally call a farrier. If she DOES continue to employ the farrier at the intervals recommended by the farrier, do I just let this go? There is a serious glut of rescue horses in our area right now, and trying to find adoptive homes for all three of the horses on the property now could prove very challenging.
I would call them because this kind of neglect and way of handling the horse isn't quite right in the head; I would want to put this obese mare on their 'radar' as in let them know there is a potential issue and they may need to step in.
I would agree, sky, except that the only person who has seen the horses is the farrier. This is a small town. If word gets around that animal control was called right after she saw the animals..... Do you get where I'm going with this? I'm personally having a hard time not calling, however, if Jenny is willing to pay to have the horses 'rehabbed' (again, I know the farrier, and she will do the absolute best she can), is it better in this glutted 'rescue' market to see if she's going to take care of the situation? I don't care a WHIT about Jenny, but my own daughter used to ride the extremely obese mare, is two weeks, until the farrier comes out again (which she promises she will) too long?
Well you said she got trimmed, the farrier is coming out in 2 more weeks then? Then you should wait on calling, but make note of it somewhere.
If the farrier doesn't come back, or she isn't scheduled then yeah I would.
Yes, the farrier trimmed her today, and is coming back in two weeks. The farrier says if her instructions weren't followed, she will call animal control herself. The hooves are bad, very bad. If I were the farrier, I would probably have called animal control and the sheriff and waited there until they had arrived, but I am not the farrier. I WANT to call animal control, and if my mom had called me before I was already so far past the farm in question, I would have stopped, looked, and called myself. But I do not want to give this very caring farrier the reputation of calling animal control on a 'whim', which is likely what will happen in this area.
It sounds like you are quite a bad position. You want to help but small town politics and friendships can be harmed. My only question is if the horses are near the roadside? If they are then you can drive past and see if the horses are as poorly cared for as people claim. Then call animal control. I have seen cases where animal control is called based off a drive by phone call. Otherwise, I would wait see if they continue with the farrier and then support and help the farrier if she decides to call. I would also consider cutting ties with the owner (Jenny right). It sounds like she lost interest in the horses once they stopped being new and shiny. I know equine rescues are overflowing but the alternative may be a long and slow death for these horses. If the owner can't get it together do what is right for the horses.
I haven't spoken to Jenny in 2 years, and am not concerned about her friendship. I guess my main worry is that if I call animal control, and they do nothing, or even just take their time doing something, as soon as Jenny knows they were called, it is likely that she will not allow the farrier back. Since she hasn't had another farrier out in a VERY long time, I'm not at all confident that she would make the effort to find another one to continue caring for the horses.
Based on your past history with Jenny, the fact you have not seen the horses first hand and small town politics, I would say Stay Out of It. Let the farrier do her job, go back in 2 weeks and call ACO if she feels the need. You are not involved, they aren't your horses, so basically...none of your business. Let the farrier call if she feels the need in 2 weeks.
There really isn't anything animal control is going to do at this point. She has had the hooves trimmed, has another scheduled appointment with the farrier, and the horses are well fed (sounds like too much so - but AC seems more concerned about emancipated horses than overly fat horses even though both can be just as bad to the health). What do you expect AC to do? It takes a lot for them to remove horses that are starving, and at this point they are just going to write it off as bad grapes and not give the next call serious consideration.
Right. I was guessing that because a farrier was finally called, there would be little or nothing that animal control could do. It is very frustrating though, my daughter used to ride one of those horses and loves her dearly.
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