On Saturday, February 11, 2012, volunteers and staff from Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society accompanied Atascosa County Sheriff’s Deputies to a property near Poteet, Texas to remove neglected and emaciated horses.
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (BEHS) became involved in this case in January when the organization learned of a complaint involving a large number of horses. A volunteer accompanied the sheriff’s department to the property to examine the horses. She discovered emaciated horses as well as a significant number of deceased horses. When a follow-up visit on February 10th confirmed reports that another horse had died and that the surviving horses’ condition had not improved, the decision was made to remove the remaining horses immediately for their own safety.
Volunteers and staff from Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society accompanied deputies to the Atascosa County property. After the sheriff’s deputies served the owners with a warrant to remove all horses from the property, volunteers and staff loaded the twelve remaining horses into waiting horse trailers and moved them to an undisclosed holding facility. At the facility, the horses were examined by a veterinarian and a BEHS staff member. Horses received necessary medical care to start them on their road to recovery. They were also started on a re-feeding program to help them gain weight.
The case will be presented in court on Friday, February 17th. At that time, evidence describing the horses’ condition will be presented, and the owners will have a chance to present their own evidence. The Justice of the Peace who presides over the case will then determine whether or not the horses were neglected. If he agrees that they were neglected, he can then award them to BEHS to be rehabilitated and eventually re-homed.
This is the third case that BEHS has assisted Atascosa County since December 24th, 2011, and the organization’s resources are stretched thin. Atascosa County is also not the only county BEHS works with either, and the organization continues to receive reports of neglect and abandonment and requests from law enforcement agencies for assistance.
Dr. Jennifer Williams, President and Executive Director of the organization says, “Hay is scarce and the cost of grain continues to rise. This means it is more expensive for us to rehabilitate starving horses. To make matters worse, fewer people can now afford to adopt or foster. So the rescue is operating with fewer resources but requests for assistance have tripled. We try hard to help whenever a law enforcement agency needs us, but we need community support in the form of adoptions of our current horses, foster homes for incoming horses, monetary donations, donations of hay and grain, and volunteers. We also need to raise awareness to help this dire situation.”
Rehabilitation of the horses seized on Saturday and the horses seized in the previous cases will take several months and cost the organizations thousands of dollars. If you would like to make a contribution to assist with the horses’ rehabilitation, would like to become a foster caregiver for these or other neglected horses or would like to adopt a rehabilitated horse, please contact Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society.
Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to improve the lives of equines by educating and helping owners, assisting law enforcement agencies, rehabilitating abused and neglected equines, and placing them into safe, permanent homes. http://www.bluebonnetequine.org.