Friday, December 12, 2008

Some days this blog even horrifies me...

I've been in horses a long time. I have seen a lot of ignorance. But some days even I am shocked and this is one of them.

Don't follow the link if you don't want to see a dead horse. Here's the story. I bolded certain parts.

The seven-year-old emaciated gelding used by its owners to pull a sedan out of a muddy ditch on Wednesday has been put down and five other horses seized. The owners, a man and a woman claiming to be veterinarians, face animal cruelty charges, confirm the SPCA.

The Langley residents were arrested after SPCA investigators found out the couple had tethered the horse to the sedan, which had gone off road in front of their property in the 2000 block of 208 Street.

Langley RCMP confirm the car wasn’t insured and the SPCA estimates the horse was labouring in the mud for more than 45 minutes before emergency responders came on the scene.
They were trying to get him to pull the vehicle out of the ditch when the animal simply collapsed and couldn’t get up, said SPCA senior animal protection officer Eileen Drever.

The SPCA determined the young horse to be in critical distress and humanely euthanized it.

“It was terribly upsetting for all the investigators involved,” said Drever.

“We thought he might have a chance when he tried to stand a couple of times but he just couldn’t muster the strength.”

The Langley Animal Protection Society, RCMP and Township firefighters responded and called the SPCA.

Langley Township fire department specializes in large animal rescues, and is often called to other municipalities to help in similar situations.

Crews were able to sedate the horse and hoist it to safety, using a tow truck.

The animal was moved to a patch of grass at the side of the road before being covered with a blanket and given an IV drip, food and water.

A video by Times photographer John Gordon shows the horse being lifted from the ditch and attempts to get him to stand.

An additional five horses located on the owners’ property were surrendered to the SPCA and are currently receiving care at the society’s Surrey branch.

The horses were also in extremely poor condition — completely emaciated — and are receiving veterinary care, said Drever.

“I can’t call the horse in the ditch a walking skeleton because by the time we reached him, he was too weak to walk,” said Drever, who estimates the gelding would score 1.5 out of 10 on a body condition scale.

A necropsy will be conducted on the gelding’s body. Drever said the prognosis for the remaining animals is hopeful but will require a lot of care.

SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk said the owners were already under investigation at the time.

A woman who came upon the scene is looking into a way she could possibly take in one or two of the horses and care for them on her farm.

We've had these cases before on the blog. Remember the crazy brindle-breeding veterinarian in Australia? They never do fail to shock, though. If these people are not lying about being veterinarians, that makes the case so much more appalling than the norm. While I don't accept ignorance as an excuse for neglect, knowing that the abuser is a horse care expert and still chose to abuse is worse.

And when it's a husband and wife team, that's worse still. One person may be mentally ill and not know what they are doing but what are the odds that both are? Slim to none. No, either they both do not care about their animals' condition, or one partner simply will not go against the other - even when animals are dying. Disturbing in either event.

I am sure we will hear a lot more about this story and I'd like to hear more from locals who may already know. What happened here? This has got to be one of the craziest abuse cases I've ever read. That poor horse.

Finally, I have a request. If you are an animal control officer and have had to deal with a situation where an abuser could not be stopped/convicted because the eyewitnesses failed to report out of fear or just plain indifference, send me your story. I'll change the names but I want to talk more about situations where animals die because of failure to report/failure to document and I also want your advice for my readers on how to deal with a suspected abuser/hoarder. Hopefully we can present something constructive and informative here!