Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Not the Judge's Fault - It Might Be Yours!

Every time a convicted animal abuser like Dean Solomon gets a wrist-slap sentence, like she did, everybody starts screaming about the judges and the courts and animal control and how there is no justice. So I am going to write today about the truth of the matter.

The judge did what he could, given what she was charged with - 2nd degree animal cruelty. Animal control actually did their job very well. The court system didn't fail. Do you know who failed?

Everybody employed by Dean who did not turn on her until far too late. Her barn manager Rachel's words at the sentencing were valuable, but they would have been so much more valuable while the conditions existed and horses were dying and the evidence was right there. Dean had others - volunteers, stall cleaners, farriers, friends - who saw the conditions and did nothing. Really, the only person who appears to have done a goddamn thing after volunteering at Dean's and seeing the conditions is Kristi, the ex-volunteer who appeared on the King 5 report. Oh, and rumor has it it was the husband of one of Dean's inner circle that really busted her with A.C., so if that's true, kudos to you, sir. Everybody else just sat on their butt wanting to make phone calls and talk about, oh, isn't it awful? I got several of those phone calls. Well, folks, I'm not the witness. You are. Calling me doesn't accomplish a damn thing. March your butt down to Animal Control and file a report. Take some pictures. That would have helped!

Dean's vet who protected her. Yes, Dr. Emig, this means you. Where did you get your vet degree - Cracker Jack box? It is awfully hard to give an abuser the sentence they deserve when a licensed veterinarian is protecting them and saying on television that they got vet care and it's ok that the horses died, they were old and in bad condition and couldn't be saved, blah blah.

All of Dean's Internet supporters. This drives me nuts. Dean's message board that she started - the "Rescues Only" board continues to support her and encourage her. She keeps posting away as though nothing is wrong, as though she didn't JUST tell a judge she would NOT involve herself further in animal rescue. And people keep being all sunshine and butterflies to her! Go read it, you'll throw up. (I wrote the post yesterday - apparently they have now locked down the board so that link may not work any longer. It's ok. Dean, plenty of people can still get into your Super Seekrit Treehouse and copy everything to me. And they do.)

(Dean's sig line: “It’s not the critic who counts, but the man in the arena." Hell, Dean, nobody could GET to your arena with all of the manure piled in the barn aisles!)

Of course it's a CENSORED board so if you say anything truthful about Dean's conviction, you get deleted and banned. Instead, the board is full of people who continue to encourage Dean to do what Dean sucks at...rescue horses.

"Dean, you have done such a wonderful job caring for her and getting her healthy." - from Caryn (Yes, Caryn, Soot looks good. Too bad it was at the expense of other horses who starved while Dean was using her limited resources to feed the high-profile, attention-whore's-dream horse)

"Dean thank you so much for giving her life back and bringing her back to health." - from Paintedlady. (Again, too bad it came at the expense of the others who didn't survive. By the way, health in my opinion includes hoof care and I have eyewitness reports that is sadly lacking.)

NOWHERE on the board is ANY mention of Dean's criminal conviction. A newbie with a big heart and big pockets will surely come along soon and Dean will charm them into purchasing horses for her. Dean has convinced many people she was wrongly accused. She will convince more and the cycle will continue. Jean Elledge is in jail because she got reported when the evidence was right there to be documented. Dean's supporters helped her cover up everything from the conditions at her barn to the dead horses. Last I heard, Dean was renting a backhoe to bury some more just a month or two ago.

Do you defenders know that Dean had horses stashed at the home of yet another guy who's got pending charges for 1st degree animal cruelty? She doesn't talk about that on the "Rescues Only" board, does she? But there are only so many people who will board your horses when you're a convicted animal abuser with a zillion money judgments against you. Birds of a feather...

Look, I hear from you guys all the time. You want me to do something about your neighbor, or the guy down the road, or your ex-friend who is neglecting their animals. What am I, the Wizard of Oz? I'm not. YOU need to do it. YOU need to report them to animal control or the sheriff if you live where there is no A.C. YOU need to take pictures (from the street, unless you are invited on the property - I do not condone or recommend illegal trespassing). If YOU are a vet and you see neglect or abuse, YOU need to report it. Same with you farriers, hay suppliers, you show managers, barn owners, etc. If you see it, take a picture of it and report it!

Stop worrying about retribution. Good Grief, if I haven't been shot yet, I think you are probably ok. The only way this crap is going to stop BEFORE horses are dead is if you locals all grow a pair and REPORT IT!

But what if I'm wrong, you may ask. What if the horse is legitimately a new rescue or has a health problem and is under the care of a vet? Folks, people who are innocent do not fear questions. When I first had Clover, lots of people asked about how she looked. I was at a 200+ stall show facility, for heaven's sake. And I happily told the story to anybody who asked, and they saw me bringing her hot mush four times a day, and you know what? I wasn't offended. I was glad people cared enough to ask and I was happy to answer questions. That's how innocent people behave. Slamming doors, obscenities, and threats -- those are the reactions of guilty people. If you get a snarly response to questions - or a charming one that doesn't seem to make sense (i.e. the horse is supposedly being rehabbed, but you've driven by and seen it getting thinner and thinner) it. You can't make them un-dead if you wait too long and when you fail to report, you are damaging the case against the person and preventing the justice system from ever carrying through with justice. Show me an animal abuser who got a wrist-slap and I bet I can show you a trail of people who failed to report...every time.

P.S. For all those concerned about Soot/Ivy, Dean did give her to a woman in Oregon who does have a blog and has expressed that she intends to give updates there. I am very happy to hear that. The adoptive home is excellent by all reports and I applaud them for understanding that people want to know how this mare is doing. Of course, note that CBER has never offered to step up and care for the horse that THEY put in this situation! CBER has been silent as the grave in all of this. You will be hearing much more about them soon. I literally have so much new information on them, I don't even know where to start.