Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Speak Up For The Horses

Are cases of horse abuse or neglect taken seriously where you live?

Concerned citizens often complain their reports of horse abuse fall on deaf ears, particularly with local law enforcement.  We appreciate our sheriff and police departments who are spread thin, often risking their lives, combating serious crime against people.  At the same time, it is disturbing and frustrating to see crimes against animals treated as a low priority, if not an outright nuisance, by law enforcement.  In Colorado, the community is trying to change how horse abuse is perceived and handled by those with the authority to stop it.  The public wants to help.

Horse Advocates of Colorado brings up excellent points to share with law enforcement and government agencies.  Ignoring horse abuse, or prolonging neglect before action is finally taken, is not just cruel and harmful to the animal, but financially costly to the community in the long run.

Shared with the permission of Horse Advocates of Colorado:

Abuse -The Story is the Same. It’s time to do better.  

Pippi, Mini-mule Rescue
 Roberta was the first to leave a comment on the Horse Advocates of Colorado blog. Here it is:
“The laws need to be changed. I have reported my neighbors for neglect and abuse on their horses, more than I can count! They finally got a ticket for animal cruelty, but it stays the same and the sadness never ends! I’m done calling Jeffco, because its the same ol’ song and dance. I’m the bad person for harassing these people on welfare that have horses!!! REALLY!?!?!?!?”

Back in October, some of us met at a town hall meeting to talk with officials about the Black Forest Abuse case. There had been a huge public outcry, partly due to a famous horse, Dual Peppy, being recognized in this herd of abused and neglected horses.

At that meeting, people lined up at the microphone, one after another to ask questions. The first question asked was, “How can the public help?” The panel gave an enthusiastic response, affirming that they depend on–and are grateful for–the public coming forward with tips.

Then for the next two hours people recounted stories like Roberta’s comment above. People had filed reports but the animals continued to suffer. Months passed with more calls to authorities about the same horses, who were still suffering. Frequently the person reporting was threatened.

We are fast to say the laws must change, but knowledgeable people say we have a good animal cruelty law in Colorado.

The challenge seems to come in enforcement. Story after story all had the same conclusion. Calls were made repeatedly and the horses were still suffering, but it wasn’t seen as life threatening. If the animal wasn’t on the brink of death, suggestions were given to the owner but frequently no charges are filed. In one current case in Calhan, there were over 20 welfare checks made by sheriff’s deputies in a 7 month period with no real improvement. Perpetrators have no fear the law will be enforced.

Two things: First and foremost, these horses need care now. The longer they are left, the more damage is done, meaning the eventual rehab gets more costly and long-term. Chronic malnutrition can cause internal problems. If hooves get poor care, chronic lameness is a possibility. And no one even mentions the psychological problems that result from neglect and abuse–frequently the largest challenge of all. By being slow to help, we heap extra cruelty of our own on top of what the horses are enduring to begin with. Instead of coddling the perpetrator, our goal should be to hold focus on the victim and get help to horses sooner.

The second line of damage is to people who care enough to report. It isn’t just that they are not taken seriously or that they are not thanked. Too many times the push back, like a whistle-blower in the government or industry, is hurtful and insulting. So the best of us, people who are willing to speak up, get worn down–even worn out.

With a new story of abuse every week, it’s hard to not emotionally shut down. We are each haunted by brutal photos. Is the problem is just too huge to change? It would be easier to look away, just to have some peace. But there is no peace.

Horse Advocates of Colorado is not a horse rescue. Our goal is to be an advocate in the legal system–a voice for the victims, the horses who can not speak. To have an impact on the neglect protocol used by the sheriff’s department in assessing each case and to encourage the legal system to prosecute and convict offenders to the full extent of the law.

We are not trying to save one individual horse at a time. Our goal is to have an impact on the big legal picture, to influence the way these cases are approached as a whole. To work in unison with law enforcement and the court system to let this Animal Cruelty Law do its intended work.

We have two cases we are following in El Paso County Court right now. Rachel Fleischaker, Case #14M 3024, Division B, trial set for 8:30 am on Dec. 15th. And the pre-trial conference for Sherri Brunzell and the Black Forest horses (Dual Peppy) is scheduled for December 17th at 8:30am. Join us to bear witness in the system for these horses who need us.

If you agree with us, ‘like’ our Facebook page or follow our blog. Email us at horseadvocates@gmail.com to volunteer.

Thank you for your support.

http://horse-advocates.com/2014/12/09/abuse-the-story-is-the-same-its-time-to-do-better/

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hit the Ground - Bounce Back

 
 Does this magpie make me look fat?

Well, Misty, with or without the magpie, you look fat. It's because of your leisurely lifestyle.
 
Misty and I have not ridden together since a July 11th trail riding mishap. She spooked big; did an abrupt 180 degree turn and bolted. My girth had become loose, my saddle rolled a little to the right, and I couldn't regain my balance to ride out the bolt.

 I hit the ground hard!

I got back on after we found Misty, who galloped across a big meadow and disappeared into the forest. I rode the rest of the day, not realizing how injured I was.
  •  Broke my left arm at the elbow joint (radial head fracture).  It has healed with a minor deformity.  I'm doing physical therapy and I'm slowly regaining use.  Today, I was able to release my own passenger side seatbelt, but still can't buckle it on my own. Baby steps.
  • Injured my left shoulder which was diagnosed yesterday as "frozen shoulder".  Doc gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed physical therapy.
  • Destroyed nerves and tissue on my right leg; had a huge hematoma from above my knee down into my toes.  Doc is ordering an MRI on my knee because it is still swollen and sore 12 weeks after the fall.  Hoping to rule out a meniscus tear.
  • Smacked my head hard, but my brand new Tipperary Sportage helmet protected my noggin well.  Wear a helmet, every ride, every time.
It has been frustrating to miss the best riding weather of the year, but I've learned from this experience.
  • Misty and I need to strengthen our relationship so she looks to me for leadership more. I need to increase my confidence, to be that leader.  Misty was a little agitated that morning. I was having a hard time getting her attention and helping her relax.
  • Check my girth more frequently. I had it as tight as I ever do, but surprisingly it loosened a lot, as Misty became sweaty and kind of sucked in during the the ride.
  • All the pain I've experienced these last 12 weeks has motivated me to take better care of my health through diet and exercise.  I want to feel good and be fit to ride well into my senior years (crud, which aren't that far away).
  •  I'm going to focus on dressage when I'm able to ride, to improve communication with Misty and work as a team.  I'm interested in Western Dressage and hope to compete next year. Started fundamental dressage lessons last year and was surprised how much I like it. I like it because Misty loves it!
I'm slowly bouncing back and looking forward to riding again. By the time I can climb back in the saddle, the temperature will be lingering in the 30s and 40s F on sunny days.  But, hey, I love shopping for winter riding wear!
 
What have you learned from riding mishaps? How have you overcome them?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Riding the Burn

We're coming up on the one year anniversary of the fire.  Riding in the burn area is interesting, but certainly not pretty.  I sure wouldn't ride here on a windy day, although I hear they recently removed the dead trees along this particular trail. 

Be fire wise and safe this summer.

We've received quite a bit of welcome rain this Spring.  Hopefully that will bring the fire danger...and hay prices...down, down, down.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

I'm still working too much and blogging too little,  but from my office cubical, I wish you all a Merry <western> Christmas!
     

Saturday, November 30, 2013

U. S. Highway Trivia

We recently passed under this monument.

Where were we? Name the town and state.

Bonus:
This town is known as "the   ___?___  __?__   Capitol of the World."

No prizes; just your personal satisfaction of weird highway knowledge.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ride Like a Witch

With kind permission from Dana's Doodles
Halloween is actually my favorite "holiday"...I just wish it came with a day off of work.  I like the fun costumes and candy and spider webs and classic spooky movies.  Have a fun Halloween week!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Misty's Monday Muse - Postcard from Colorado

Having a wonderful time.

Wish you were here!

**************************************************
Photo courtesy Mark and Debbie Bibb
I've been taking MyLady on lots of trail rides this summer.  We're having so much fun, there hasn't been any time for blogging.  We are spending  all of our free time together and have become great trail partners.  There are still several months of lovely riding weather, so we'll be in touch when the snow flies.  
   
Enjoying the great outdoors,

Friday, August 2, 2013

Post Fire Flooding

Every time it rains, news crews come out and film at this location, where it floods across the street and then leaves a bunch of black sludge behind.  At times the flooding has been up to the top of the fence.  This homeowner lost their house in the fire and now they have to deal with this mess too.


Where does all this goo come from?  Here's the answer from last Monday's storm.



More storms are on the way.