Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Names with Big Lawyers Behaving Badly

Not too long ago, the news came out with yet another bust of a horse breeder with show horses winning in the pen but skinny, long-footed stock hiding behind the barn. Not too unusual - we've certainly seen it all before. This time it was a well known Saddlebred breeder named Les Pease. Pease has show horses with trainers Betsy Webb and Don Bridges, very successful trainers with what sounds like quite a fabulous new show facility. It's obvious that training bill isn't a cheap one and Mr. Pease is capable of paying it or he wouldn't be there.

News story

So, not only do we have horses who are 1's and 2's, we have stallions running loose among the mares with no idea who is siring what? I've said it before, you can be a BYB no matter how high quality your horses are, and if this is true, Mr. Pease is the new poster child for that!

We have all kinds of interesting factors at play here. First of all, we have a guy with a good lawyer - not the typical person accused of cruelty. The lawyer is doing a bang-up job delaying this case from proceeding. Second, I'm hearing we may have a questionable rescue (not Saddlebred Rescue) rubbing their hands together in glee trying to get these horses, no doubt seeing them as donation magnets due to the publicity factor. Third, everybody else seems to have smothered this story! Other forums "lost" the thread or admit to removing it. My guess is the lawyer is making threats (FYI: Threats received here are typically published to the blog for all to see.)
The only place anybody is talking about it is on Topix, and while some of that seems a little over the top, it's an interesting discussion nevertheless.

Now here's a point from the flip side:

"The person who was caring for these horses up until a few days ago sounded like a real nut job. Giving out enough information and inuendo to make blood boil. Calling anyone who didn't support or believe him 100% a "supporter of the Pease family". He made many insinuations as to what the county was and more importantly was not doing to help these horses. It became bad enough that he was asked to stop posting on the internet. He claims he asked to have horses taken away because of what someone said on a web site. It is far more plausible that the county was fed up with him.

And this may very well be true. However, any time you have a herd of starving horses, someone is to blame. Somewhere, there is a human being whose responsibility it was to feed and trim and vet those horses. In this case, those horses were the property of Mr. Pease and - just like Ernie Paragallo - being out of town or busy or trusting someone else to care for them is not an excuse. Ric Banks is the person who has been caring for the horses and I'm more than happy to post his side if he wants to send it to me. What is undisputed is that they're not his horses. So whatever he has done to help them is a blessing to them regardless of the personalities involved and who is or isn't telling the truth. He doesn't have any obligation here. And hell, I'm sure my postings would be pretty inflammatory too if I were trying to nurse mares like those pictured back to health. I sure wouldn't be feeling any need to whitewash my opinion of the rich real estate developer who let them get that way!

These situations usually do not go bad overnight. I'm interested to hear from anyone who may have seen things going south at the Pease farm in the past. You may of course stay anonymous. Did someone fail to report this because of a fear of legal threats from Mr. Pease? From the looks of things, he is much better about paying his lawyer than paying for feed. I'm not sure any kind of deliberate cover-up is going on here - what I see is fear of legal action, but hey, if that's the case, the Fugly blog is the place to tell the tale! E-mail me your comments and I will update this evening. Put JULY 27 BLOG in the subject line, please!

And I REALLY want to know the CURRENT status and location on these horses. Who are they? Does anybody have a list of their registered names? I heard Banks got fed up and gave them back to the County and the County's vet wants to euth them all. First of all, that's bullshit, skinny horses should not be euthed merely because they are skinny. Those are most likely all high quality ASB's that someone would WANT to adopt...give them a chance. Second of all, my question about that is whether the true goal is destroying the evidence. Either way, it is time to talk about this story, not bury it. And we're going to do that here!

While I was researching this story, I came across this blog. Holy crap, some of those pictures. You could stay busy all day writing to various D.A.'s asking them to throw the book at the parade of horrible horse owners featured here.

OK I am going to add your comments to the July 25 blog now...sorry for the delay but it was just too hot here yesterday to do anything more constructive than give baths! Sheesh, this is Seattle, not the Midwest - enough with the heat and humidity!


Anon - Southern States donated feed coupons to the equivalent of 22 bags of feed to Ric to feed the Pease horses. Rood & Riddle sent a team of interns to palpate the seized mares, luckily, none were in foal, other than the four mares that had already delivered.

Frankie, [one foal that Ric cared for], was so weak, he couldn't stand up on his own and nurse, Ric had to help him up every 3 hours for the first two weeks after he was born, until he got strong enough to get up on his own.

Anon - I've been following this story on SBR, trot and topix. I've made a post on all asking if anyone has read the original filed complaint against Pease; it seems no one has. One post said they requested court copies but have never received them. I tried to locate a court website for Mercer County with no luck. As posted many places it seems only one count of abuse/neglect has been filed; if so, that would only be a "slap on the wrist"

Anon - I live, ride, and go to school right by the Louisville Equestrian Center (where Betsy Webb Stables, run by Les Pease's trainer Betsy Webb, is now located). It cost 3.4 million dollars to build that facility. Boarding at the new equestrian center is over 600 dollars. It still shocks me that people can afford to pay for boarding at this rate, and then to gather in the training fees, and STILL have horses that look like that. I started my riding career in the Saddlebred industry, and it makes me so mad to see these horses being treated like that. I've had friends get horses from Saddlebred Rescue, and they've all had those similar stories. To see those ponies I'm familiar with, and then think that were like that... It's maddening, to say in the least. Of course, I'm not that suprised that Betsy Webb is involved as I've not heard great things about her from my friends who are in the Saddlebred industry.

Anon - Thank you Cathy for showing the two sides of this story. It is so sad that there is so much fighting amongst the the people who care what happens to these horses.

Yes we live in America and technically everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but it will be pretty hard to for anyone to believe Mr. Pease is innocent.

I hope the laws in KY allow for more than just a slap on the wrist.

Anon - There is a MUCH bigger/longer/more controversial Topix forum

The above Topix forum has the posts about horses being shot in their stalls.

According to SBR the new court date for Pease is tomorrow, July 28, in Mercer County Kentucky unless of course the fancy lawyer gets it continued yet again.

Thanks again for being a voice of reason!

Anon - Supposedly there were 5 colts shot in their stalls in his barn .