Monday, October 27, 2008

Nothing tastes sweeter than justice!

Out of everything I write about here, my favorite stories are the happy endings for horses, but a close second are the times I get to write and tell you that some horse abusing asshat ACTUALLY GOT PROSECUTED. This is one of those times!

Remember Ruby? Hell, how could you forget. I featured her story here after blog reader Dawn filled me in, and Katie Merwick at Second Chance Ranch graciously donated the funds to put the poor mare out of her misery.

Here's the original story of Ruby (warning, pretty graphic starvation picture). Ruby was an old APHA mare who needed to be put to sleep, but not in the way the knuckle-dragging owners were planning - just shootin' her, which I suspect would have ended up like yesterday's story about the Arabian in Bend, if not worse.

Well, Dawn didn't just say, ok, I cleaned up the mess, and drop it. Dawn went after these people with a vengeance, even though she lives in a rural county - the kind of place where all of you moan that law enforcement doesn't care, that nothing you can do gets any action taken. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel. Tonight, the Whatcom County Jail has a few new inmates! Maria Huffman and her son R. J. Huffman are cooling their heels in the pokey for second degree animal abuse. Maria's equally scummy boyfriend, Mike Wopat, must have bailed himself out because he's no longer on the list. I screen capped it in case the Huffmans' relatives pawn enough stuff to get them out.

Here's the whole story:

"As it turns out, not only were they cruel to her, but another horse that they left for dead at a friends house. Plus they were hoarding other animals at their place of residence in a TRAILER PARK. 15 starving dogs in crates, 7 cats, pigs (yes pigs), ducks, chickens, hamsters, rabbits and dozens of parrots and other birds and lord knows what else.

I don't have the exact number of dogs, cats, birds (of all species) and all the rest of the animals. It was NINE dogs though..all in crates stacked on top of each other! The Clean Air Association was out there with the raid...because the double wide trailer was so contaminated they wanted to be sure the neighbors were safe! can you imagine?? Poor animals....

They live at Tall Cedars trailer park in Ferndale WA. They have the rest of their animals on the corner of Guide Meridian and Axton Road, right across from the Guide Trading post. (locals here will know where that is) The horses and cow there look good because they are on pasture now. The spotted horse (fugly) is a STALLION and has bred all the others. That was Ruby's son...the reason they claim to have gotten rid of Ruby was because he was trying to breed her and they didn't want him to get kicked! GRRRR...."

Yes, it's another horror story - BUT THEY'RE IN JAIL! And the sheriff is committed to throwing the book at them. WOO HOO! Every time this happens, trust me, another bunch of people - everybody who knows these folks - learn that animal abuse is a crime. They learn you can't just say "but I didn't have any money" and that will get you off the hook.

Sometimes they are awful shocked to find out these facts of life. Remember Jean Elledge, the Krazy Kolor Breeder who starved numerous Arabians, Saddlebreds and crosses to death in Carnation? Original post here. I am equally pleased to announce that the Judge gave ol' Jean nine months in the slammer! He didn't buy the old lady, but I looooove them bullshit. He put the bitch behind bars!
Here's ol' Jean. Didn't miss any meals while she was starving her horses to death, did she?

From a news article:

"I'm trying myself to understand what happened," Elledge said. "I didn't see the horses starving."

Well, sweetie, you're going to have NINE MONTHS TO THINK ABOUT IT. I don't know how you could goddamn well miss THE DEAD ONE lying 20 feet from your house. Maybe you can work on your powers of observation during those NINE MONTHS IN JAIL.
The judge didn't buy any of her crap.

"In sentencing Elledge, Ramsdell referenced the quote, "the measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members," and said in this case, the weakest members were horses, dependent on Elledge."People treat their cars better than you treated these animals," Ramsdell said."

GO JUDGE RAMSDELL. And he's making her pay restitution too!
Here is his web site if you want to write him a nice thank-you note.

And the best part? She's still facing charges in Snohomish County - so she may get even more time! Ramsdell banned her from animal ownership for 5 years. Let's see Snoho up that to life.
So, two down and Dean Solomon goes to trial on November 10th. I'm trying to find out more info on that for those of you who'd like to suggest a sentence to that judge! By the way, who is Molly King? She just got a default judgment against Dean for $40,276.84. Damn. Way to go, Ms. King. Was it horse related? What'd she do to you?

Guys, I know it seems like an endless battle and like all we do is slam our heads against the wall, but the world is changing...this is an exciting time if you look at it the right way, and if you've been around long enough to remember when stuff like this never got prosecuted. For you young whippersnappers, trust me, when I was your age, this stuff never got prosecuted. You had to just about set a horse on fire in the middle of the street to get jail time for animal abuse. Starving them would NEVER have put you behind bars.

Thank you to all of the police, animal control authorities and judges who are changing the world. Thank you to all of the individuals who report abuse and neglect. Thank you to all of the rescuers who bring so many horses back from the brink of death. I love watching the change happen and am excited and hopeful every day that things are going to get so much better for horses in my lifetime than I can even imagine right now.