Animal Neglect--Please Help!
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Posted by TamiLY (+239) 10 years ago
Can anyone help point me in the right direction for reporting animal neglect? I've observed several horses in town who are not skin and bones but are frequently left hungry and thirsty, without exercise or space to run, and without shelter. I'm a city girl and I don't pretend to know much about ranch animals, but I know what hungry animals look like and these horses are beginning day 4 since their food has run out. They have been without food and water 5-6 days on several occasions this past winter. I'm sure there are legal technicalities that I do not understand, but the local sheriff's dept has not been helpful other to say anyone found to hop the fence and feed the horses (other than the owners) will be tresspassing and consequently prosecuted. Please, someone point me in a direction so something can be done to help these animals!
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Posted by GLM (+59) 10 years ago
Try contacting one of the brand inspectors or calling Miles City veterinary services west of town.
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Posted by Kacey (+3153) 10 years ago
Humane Society-The United Sts - www.humanesociety.org
490 North 31st Street, Billings - (406) 255-7161
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Posted by Stewart (+155) 10 years ago
While I'm hesitant to get into this, I just want to make sure things aren't stirred up if there isn't actually a problem.

How do you know the horses aren't being fed or water? Just because there isn't food or water in the pen at all times does not mean the animals aren't fed and watered at a certain time every day and you just don't see it happening.

Also, I highly doubt they went without water for 5 or 6 days. If you do a quick search on the internet you'll find that horses can only survive about 2 days without water and they will look pretty aweful right away.

If the horses look healthy, they're probably fine. If they look like skin and bones, it may just be also that they're old. It doesn't matter how well you treat a really old horse, they look like heck.

Since I don't know where these horses are I'm not saying there isn't a problem. I'm just saying make sure you investigate before calling down the thunder on an unsuspecting soul.
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Posted by CS Hunt (+322) 10 years ago
I've seen several horses that looked like they were starving, too. And I actually grew up with horses and know what a healthy horse looks like. I never really looked into reporting, because for all I know, the owners rescued these horses and are in the process of nursing them back.

Perhaps reporting it and at least having a professional take a look is a good idea though.
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Posted by Tracy P. (+91) 10 years ago
I too have had some concerns about horses around town. Especially when they have open wounds, are skinny, their fur is not shiny or brushed, and they are standing in a bunch of horse poop. This is a concern to me because horses need their hooves taken care of, open wounds need to be covered with a healing ointment, and also their teeth need to be filed so they are not cutting their tounge when chewing. Personally, I would call the people previously noted in the above posts and at least have someone look in to it. Would we not call someone if we thought a child was being neglected? We owe it to take care of all living things. Good luck.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6019) 10 years ago
While I know nothing about the horses in question, I will say that the typical horse person seems to believe that a horse is being neglected if it hasn't been brushed in 24 hours and starved if it hasn't been fed in 12.

We've had people call in to work demanding that a deputy respond to unlock a gate at 0330 hrs because a horse hadn't been fed in 30 hours. The suggestion that the "malnourished" horse didn't really constitute an emergency resulted in a complaint to the shift commander.
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Posted by TamiLY (+239) 10 years ago
Thanks everyone for your input. Stewart, you've given me some things to consider, and you may be right about them being fed while I'm unaware of it happening-but I don't think that is the case here very often. I have full view of these particular horses from my home and am able to see where their feed is stored and whether or not it has been moved. If horses are unable to survive without water for more than a few days then I am evidently wrong about them being without it. I do know that I've seen them without food for days at a time, and I'm not mistaken there.
As I've said previously, I know little about horses but I can tell you that some of these have flat, spread out hooves that are cracked on the ends, some are in small pens and have been without exercise for over a year, and there is no shelter from the weather for any of them. There was one little horse (about 1 yr old) that was very crippled and it was heartbreaking to watch him try to hobble around the yard all winter long. He has recently disappeared from the property and hopefully was mercifully euthanized.
The authorities have been contacted numerous times (someone from the Livestock Commission as well the Sheriff's Dept) by various concerned neighbors, but from the sound of the feedback here there is not much of a problem after all. I really hate thinking that the neglect has to be extremely severe before corrective measures can be taken.
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Posted by Kacey (+3153) 10 years ago
Montana has laws protecting animals.
Montana State Annotated Code
45-8-211. Cruelty to animals -- exceptions. (1) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals if, without justification, the person knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by:
(a) overworking, beating, tormenting, torturing, injuring, or killing the animal;
(b) carrying or confining the animal in a cruel manner;
(c) failing to provide an animal in the person's custody with:
(i) food and water of sufficient quantity and quality to sustain the animal's normal health;
(ii) minimum protection for the animal from adverse weather conditions, with consideration given to the species;
(iii) in cases of immediate, obvious, serious illness or injury, licensed veterinary or other appropriate medical care;
(d) abandoning any helpless animal or abandoning any animal on any highway, railroad, or in any other place where it may suffer injury, hunger, or exposure or become a public charge; or
(e) promoting, sponsoring, conducting, or participating in an animal race of more than 2 miles, except a sanctioned endurance race.
(2) (a) A person convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals shall be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 1 year, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals or of a first or subsequent offense of aggravated animal cruelty shall be fined an amount not to exceed $2,500 or be sentenced to the department of corrections for a term not to exceed 2 years, or both.
(b) If the convicted person is the owner, the person may be required to forfeit any animal affected to the county in which the person is convicted. This provision does not affect the interest of any secured party or other person who has not participated in the offense.
(c) For the purposes of this subsection (2), when more than one animal is subject to cruelty to animals, each act may comprise a separate offense.
(3) In addition to the sentence provided in subsection (2), the court:
(a) shall require the defendant to pay all reasonable costs incurred in providing necessary veterinary attention and treatment for any animal affected, including reasonable costs of care incurred by a public or private animal control agency or humane animal treatment shelter;
(b) may require the defendant to pay all reasonable costs of necessary care of the affected animal that are incurred by a public or private animal control agency or humane animal treatment shelter; and
(c) shall prohibit or limit the defendant's ownership, possession, or custody of animals, as the court believes appropriate during the term of the sentence.
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Posted by Laura Sevier (+1759) 10 years ago
Could you please post directions or an address to drive by so I can take a look at the horses and see what I think. I belong to an animal group that is interested in helping abused and neglected animals, maybe if some of the members of my group could drive by and observe on numerous occasions that these horses have no food, our group might be able to help you get something done to help the horses.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3718) 10 years ago
Have you tried talking to the owners of the animals? Seems like you're making a few assumptions.
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Posted by Kacey (+3153) 10 years ago
If she's talking about the horses I have seen she is not making assumptions.
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Posted by TamiLY (+239) 10 years ago
The owners have been spoken to numerous times-which is why there is now a "No Trespassing" sign posted on the property and neighbors are barred from hopping the fence and feeding the horses in the owner's absence. The owner has lost patience with others complaining about the lack of food and water provided to the horses. I won't post the address here since it seems the law on animal cruelty is subject to individual interpretation unless grossly blatant and it sounds like there may not really be a legal issue here at all. These horses aren't walking skeletons, there's no blood gushing from their bodies, and they haven't been beaten-they just don't receive food on a regular basis, some are confined to small pens and have not been let out for exercise in well over a year (probably closer to 2 years for one horse), and they have no shelter at all (not even a tree to stand under). From what I'm hearing here, that doesn't necessarily constitute neglect. I'll be happy to send the location of these horses via email should anyone want to take a look for themselves. In fact, I would appreciate someone with some horse knowledge taking a look at them.
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Posted by TamiLY (+239) 10 years ago
Food just showed up today!
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Posted by spacekace (+889) 10 years ago
Maybe the horse doesn't get excercised because it's really old? Or they are not rideable and have just became big pets...
It's quite sad acutally the amount of horses that never amount to anything because the owners have never taken the time or do not have the skills to properly train them when they were young. They just become big expensive hay eating pets.
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Posted by TamiLY (+239) 10 years ago
I don't think these horses are very old, but maybe unrideable as you say. I don't mean they've gone without exercise because they have not been ridden-I mean they have not been out of their small pens at all for a very long time. So since there is debate as to whether this can even be considered neglect, I now ask if it is wrong that they have been without food since Sunday morning when they were finally fed and gobbled up all the hay that same morning. Is that neglectful? Is that an unfair assumption? Is there something I don't understand about horses and they don't actually need to be fed regularly? Just trying to understand if this is acceptable horse care and if I should drop it already.
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Posted by CS Hunt (+322) 10 years ago
Personally, I don't think you should drop it. Horses need to be fed everyday and have access to clean water daily. They need to have enough room to get exercise on their own, if they're not being ridden on a regular basis. There are too many owners getting away with neglecting their animals, in this town alone.

Any luck on getting a professional to take a look?
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Posted by Kacey (+3153) 10 years ago
You may have to get someone from outside of Miles City to help. Unfortunately the local authorities don't always see it the same way as you do. I know another woman who tried with the locals for almost a year to help some horses there. Never got any assistance. Call the Humane Society in Billings. See if they can help you.
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Posted by K.Duffy (+1716) 10 years ago
I'd go here: http://www.ktvq.com/contact-us/ unless you don't want to get in the middle of a doo-doo storm
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Posted by jimdeastfork (+91) 10 years ago
This thread seems to be a variation on the question of whether a horse is livestock or a pet. Defining a horse seems to have a great deal to to with individual perspectives. Essentially, are you a suburbanite who loves to occasionally use a horse for pleasure riding, giving it pet status, or are you more ranch oriented, treating the horse as a tool and as livestock.

Ranchers and many horse breeders used to have a quiet outlet for livestock that no longer served a useful purpose. Yes, they would load the unwanted, non-useful animal up and take it to the sale ring where it would be sold as a "killer". Disposal was simplified as the animal was slaughtered either for dog food or overseas specialty markets allowing the "livestock" seller the opportunity to take home a small check and never having to know the graphic details of what really became of "Old Paint". Today, there really is not much of a market for "slaughter"/"killer" horses leaving the owner to be stuck with the animal until it either dies naturally, or is euthanized. Additionally the owner is stuck with disposal of the carcass/body of the animal. We don't yet bury most horses in cemeteries, but perhaps someday.... In the meantime many owners of aging useless horses are looking for an inexpensive "out" to horse ownership. I have noticed a few owners trying to give away their aging or disabled horses on Craigslist, advertising them as either pets or companion horses, in essence passing off their problem to somebody else.

I honestly don't know what to think of a horse. They used to have a place on every farm and ranch as a tool, as well as a companion/pet/hobby. Now, they have been largely replaced by the 4-wheeler as a tool. Horses are being phased out on many ranches and not being replaced, as they either die or are sold. A horse represents tradition, but traditions do change, leaving many owners to wonder what to do with their horses.
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Posted by Bridgier (+8302) 10 years ago
I understand that they make wonderful stew.
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Posted by atomicg (+991) 10 years ago
Brian Certain at Animal Control would be a good start. 234-6113?
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Posted by Ashley H (+191) 10 years ago
There is Horse Rescue facility in Roundup. You can contact them and I bet they will be able to help you!!! Here is there information! I hope everything works out!!

Sar Shalom Stables
908 4th St West
Roundup, Montana 59072

Phone: (406) 323-3069 or (406) 861-4550
Email: [email protected]
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