Two Months ago, I was made aware of some postings from someone who had stated they had established a Livestock type rescue in Putnam County. People had mentioned they were gravely concerned. They cited various reasons, so I visited the person’s page. As I perused the postings, I was more than concerned. I foresaw a clear disaster in the works. I saw something we would need to help clean up when it went very far south. Erratic wouldn’t have been a fair way to explain what I was reading. Further, various contradictions existed within hours of one another over and over. The person said they had their 501(c)3 status, were actively fundraising as a non-profit and couldn’t be found on the West Virginia and Federal listings as a non- profit. When folks challenged the person with sensible concerns, he became angry and ranted in a way that was hard to fathom or understand or follow.
I told those who reached out that all we could do is wait until he clearly broke the law or gave officials enough reason to believe neglect was taking place, and I sadly assumed it wouldn’t be long. I hoped as few animals would suffer in that process as possible. Erratic words aren’t a crime, usually, and in this case, all I saw were handfuls of red flags.
Collecting over 100 animals in a quick fashion paired with ranting and begging for funding always sends out calls for concern, folks.
When we were called to assist on the 100 + animal seizure, I wasn’t surprised. All I’ve heard since that time from the former owner continues to cause me grave concern.
I was thankful the county stepped in at the right time before massive numbers of animals perished or starved nearly to death. They stepped in when some had, indeed, died of neglect and some were starving. They stepped in when injuries were present that occurred on site that weren’t treated. They stepped in when horses were going without needed vet care, when some had not had enough water or food, when some had active issues not being treated and when a farrier was long overdue for some. They stepped in before it was too late, and it is when good animal control should step in. We rarely get to see action taken at the right time. Coming in before most animals are lost is right.
We are almost unable to know when we see appropriate action because we usually witness action taken months and years or decades too late. We unfairly believe that is right. It isn’t.
As a rescuer who was on the scene and watched this case unfold, I am here to say, this is the best example of a county being correctly quick to the right action following crimes being carried out against animals.
I know most of these animals haven’t been there long term. I have received many images from people this person bought animals from showing how these animals were when they went to this farm. Stark differences.
The thing to remember is that en masse, skeletal starvation doesn’t need to be present on all animals on a property for criminal neglect to be taking place. Allowing animals to stray about on public roadways paired with injuries that never receive real treatment, poor sanitation all around, dead animals about and extreme emaciation of some of the animals is enough to say what has happened is a crime.
Rescues do not take in healthy animals and let their conditions deteriorate, folks, and they are always going to have a vet standing behind them should an animal take a turn for the worse.
While this case is ongoing, and I cannot give many details, and I didn’t have time to take many photos on site, I can say the horses depicted on the news were largely suffering extensive injuries to their legs, dental and lymph issues that could render them lame or very ill for a long time or for good. They all had suffered in other ways. Unfortunately, so much of what the first responders saw wasn’t filmed by the news crews. None of the injuries ended up filmed, unfortunately.
For me, this skinny colt we accepted, who was signed over, unlike some of the others, who hadn’t been handled in any manner with horrible feet so neglected he stumbled about like he was blind was enough for me to know we came at the right time.
For others, you need every single animal to be ready to perish, and that isn’t what we SHOULD see if authorities help at the right time.