Abandoned Horses

Discussion in 'The Corral' started by BUC, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. BUC

    BUC Administrator

    Yep, the "White Paper" by our dear John Holland still floats around denying that horse abandonment is really happening. Goes into great detail (of lies) to cover up the fact.

    I'd like to keep this thread for refrence for when I (or anyone) comes across an abandoment article....

    The latest one I just read:

    Horses in need of homes: Costs add up to care for abandoned animals


    RAYMOND - Hinds County Sheriff's Department Capt. John Hulsebosch shakes his head when asked about the horses in the pasture at the county's penal farm.


    Somehow, a facility never designed to care for horses now has 14. And Hulsebosch has to find a way to feed and care for the animals, most of which have been abandoned.

    "We pick them up on the side of the road sometimes," Hulsebosch said.

    Animal rescue groups across the state are in a similar situation: All have more horses than they can handle, said Deborah Boswell, Mississippi Animal Rescue League executive director.

    MARL also has 14 horses that need homes, and the Jackson shelter has no more barn space, she said.

    "It's very costly to care for a horse," she said. "A big portion of (what's going on) is the economy."

    Feed and care of one horse can cost as much as $5,000 a year.

    Hulsebosch is not sure when the penal farm started its horse collection, but he said it has more now than ever. Most of the horses have been abandoned by owners unwilling or unable to spend the money on them, Hulsebosch said.

    The penal farm houses them because MARL can't hold any more.

    Gene Floyd of Mendenhall came to the penal farm this week to pick up his 24-year-old horse, Dixie. She got out after someone cut the fence at the pasture she was at in Terry, he said.

    "I was scared somebody hit her or got her," Floyd said.

    Floyd slogged through the muddy pasture to Dixie and put a rope on her.

    Floyd said caring for a horse can be expensive. He and his wife, Kimberly, have seven horses. They generally spend $250 a month on feeding and basic care, he said.

    The Sheriff's Department gets horse feed, hay and other necessities from MARL, which operates on donations.

    Without MARL, there's no way the county could take care of the animals, many of which remain there for extended periods, Hulsebosch said.

    One brown mustang has been at the farm for two years.

    Hulsebosch wants to plant fruit trees and blueberry bushes where the horses graze, but he can't do it as long as the animals need the land.

    "I need to be farming that 20 acres," he said.

    Boswell estimates that MARL spends $2,000 a year caring for each horse the organization takes in on its 47 acres.

    Adoption fees only run from $250 to $400. "We're placing these animals at a loss to us," she said.

    The horse market, like many other markets, is down in this economy, and that makes it harder for people to sell horses they can't afford to keep.

    The value of an average horse has dropped by half, while the cost of feed and medical care has doubled during recent years, said Sheila Horton, founder of Have a Heart Horse Rescue and Animal Protection Agency Inc. in Baldwyn. The price of a horse can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

    The nonprofit Have a Heart is caring for 18 horses.

    Have a Heart has seen a sharp increase in the number of calls the organization gets about abandoned or neglected horses, Horton said.

    "I probably get three to five calls a day," she said.

    In her part of the state, Horton said feed and hay have gone up by about a third in price during the past year.

    Many horse owners do not realize what it takes to care for such a large animal, she said. Add to that some owners don't feed their horses enough or at all, she said.

    Because space is tight for the horses, MARL is partnering with the Sheriff's Department penal farm and state prison at Parchman.

    Inmates will care for and train the horses, which can pasture on the jail or prison property.

    In addition to feed and hay, horses require routine worming and hoof trimmings.

    Feed costs in the area of $9 to $12 for a 50-pound bag, and the average horse will need $150 worth of feed a month.

    "They take a lot more than people think they do," Horton said.
  2. BUC

    BUC Administrator

    By Jeff DeLong, USA TODAY Updated 12/16/2008 10:26 PM


    Jack Noble was pretty sure what he would see when he arrived to check out reports of horses abandoned on a rural road in Oregon's Willamette Valley in September.

    Noble, field operations manager for the state's Department of Agriculture, found 11 filthy, sickly and starving horses. "They were just let loose, and they were severely malnourished," he said.

    Horse abandonment is on the rise across the USA, livestock and agricultural officials say. As the economy worsens and the cost of feeding and caring for horses rises, more people are abandoning their animals into the wild, where many starve and die.

    No national numbers are available, but there are "definitely thousands of them out there," said Dave Duquette, an Oregon horse trainer and president of the United Horsemen's Front.

    "Folks have to decide whether to feed the kids or feed the horses," said Dr. Kerry Rood, a veterinarian at Utah State University.

    In Wyoming, there have been "huge increases" in the number of domestic horses abandoned, said Jim Schwartz, director of the Wyoming Livestock Board.

    "It used to be six or eight per year. This year so far we've had at least 41," said Lee Romsa, Wyoming's brand commissioner. In Nevada, officials have found 63 abandoned horses in the northern part of the state alone in 2008 - an unprecedented situation, said Ed Foster, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.

    The horses Noble found were sold at auction, surprising considering their condition, he said.

    The responsibility for dealing with abandoned domestic horses generally falls to a state's department of agriculture or a local animal control organization, Rood said. Private animal rescue organizations often become involved, he said.

    The sale of horses is becoming "less and less" of an option, said Patricia Evans, equine specialist at Utah State. Auctioneers screening horses are turning them away if they don't think they will bring enough money, she said.

    Rood said another part of the abandonment problem is the closure of the USA's last horse slaughterhouse last year in Illinois. Slaughtering provided owners with a final option, he said.

    Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said closure of American horse slaughterhouses was a necessary end to a "horrifically abusive" practice.

    Many horse owners believe their animals, if released into the wild, will be adopted by wild herds. But "the wild horse herd will reject them in the most violent manner," Foster said. "It ends up being a bad ending for that horse."