A case dating back to 2010 has some resolution.
Many of you will remember this herd from last year and the year before. . .When over 120 Miniature Horses and Donkeys were breeding at large and dying from various conditions in Lewis County, WV.
We would get arrangements in place to help, and the county would shut down the seizure. A few months later, we would hear about it again, and over and over, we tried to help. Finally, the herd was seized, though many had died.
At this time, over 50 Miniature horses and a few mini Donkeys are in the herd. These are all essentially unhandled (not suitable for children, new owners, etc).
They have been with a local person in the county for months while the case played out. The owner was found guilty, thankfully.
But despite the fact HOP has been allowed to rescue horses from this county before, now the Prosecutor insists rescued horses must be auctioned to the highest bidder instead of working with rescues to safely place them.
How can selling previously neglected animals to random highest bidders be a kind option for animals who have suffered for years and years?
Don’t we want to keep them safe?
Keep in mind, many need gelded, farrier work, a lot of handling and specialized care due to long term neglect. Some are healthy, but I’ve talked to many over the last few years who tried to help the herd, and they are NOT TRAINED miniatures.
WV law does not require these animals to be auctioned to the highest bidder. This isn’t routinely done in WV, and it is a harmful public precedent to set if it takes place this month. No seized horses will be safe in any county once this takes place, as other officials will say, “Well, Lewis county did this.” Auction is NOT required by state code. It is allowed, but it isn’t required. It sure isn’t preferred in most places, either.
We have worked in cases across this state, and this is not typical of a case.
What we propose is a 2 part plan:
- Work with HSUS, who seems to be willing to offer assistance, and defer to placement with reputable rescues and animal welfare organizations.
- If placement isn’t possible with rescues and national organizations who handle equine welfare cases, then Adopt the horses out through the county with a fee, making sure colts and stallions leave gelded, to applicants who fill out a one page application and agreement (this was done in Hampshire County in 2011 with a massive herd) and include their farrier and vet information, as well as agree to not breed, auction or sell the adoptive equine for profit.
Lewis County Prosecutor
Also, please chime in on this post by a commissioner in this county: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153962959983650&id=789713649&__mref=message_bubble
Do not call the sheriff or ACO. They are not who made this decision.