Diatribe: Animal Abusers In Black Forest, Colorado, Can Kill Their Animals, Leave Them To Rot In Barns, And Suffer No Consequences.
Last spring we made the difficult decision to “re-home” our horses. After caring for them ‘round-the-clock for almost eight years it was a very difficult time. Until they were gone, we had no idea how much the care of our equine friends had become the center of our universe. Every time we set an alarm clock and each time we scheduled a day off with did so with their care in mind. They were more than our children … children, eventually, learn where they’re supposed to go to the bathroom and develop an ability to feed themselves … they were our responsibility. When we chose to bring them into our life, we did so with a complete understanding that their care would, more often than not, come before our comfort and convenience.
Last Friday, a woman renting property in the southern Colorado town of Black Forest learned that not everyone who owns horses understands that vet bills and hay deliveries become priorities.
When one of the German Shepherds that she raises escaped and she followed it to a barn on the property, the woman discovered eight to twelve dead horses … some no more than skeletons … covered in lye and tarps. Ten more obviously neglected horses were still alive inside the barn, surrounded by manure more than a foot deep and with no food or water in sight. The woman, who had moved onto the property last August had never seen the horses before. She immediately called authorities.
Apparently, they belong to another woman who boards them there.
Investigators from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office determined they could not legally seize the living horses because they were not in immediate danger so they gave them water and food. The woman who owns the horses has been cooperative in making a plan to improve their health and condition and has agreed to clean the property. She is, unbelievably, not facing charges.
Local residents and animal rights activists are outraged. And so am I.
To say that the surviving horses are not in immediate danger is utterly ridiculous. To say that these starving animals, living in a barn surrounded by the dead, are not in danger is appalling. I understand that domestic animals are treated as property in most U.S. municipalities but public health laws surely prevent the collection and storage of multiple rotting carcasses in one’s barn.
These beautiful animals should have been removed from that property and received proper care not just for their own health but for the well being of the community. By allowing this neglectful woman to clean the property authorities are, essentially, encouraging her to dispose of all evidence of the horrid crime she has committed. Additionally, a very clear message is being sent to the community …
Animal abusers in Black Forest, Colorado, can kill their animals, leave them to rot in barns, and suffer no consequences.
I have no tolerance for anyone who mistreats an animal. Horses in particular are an enormous commitment and a tremendous amount of thought must be involved before a decision to own one can be reached. People joke that “horses are like potato chips … you can’t have just one”, but the truth is each additional animal exponentially increases the time and other resources required for proper care. So, unless you own a ranch with a natural water source and enough acreage to support the grazing of many animals, collecting horses is rarely a good idea.
There must be more to the story in Black Forest, Colorado, than the media is reporting. Surely, the authorities can’t turn a blind eye to that much cruelty, neglect and death under one roof.
As for our horses, we were very fortunate to find a good home where the two of them could stay together, live on a large farm with plenty of land for grazing and running, under the watchful care of an experienced family with a tradition of training, racing and riding horses that allowed us to confidently wish them well.
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