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Home News-Telegram News Eighteen horses turned over to rescue agency

Eighteen horses turned over to rescue agency

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A local animal rescue group Monday was awarded 18 malnourished horses rescued from a Brashear property July 18. It was the second time since May that Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society aided Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office in rescuing neglected horses and were awarded custody of the animals, according to Kim Simpson, foster home and neglect investigator for the Bluebonnet organization.

The latest incident came to a head just over a week ago when HCSO deputies checked a Brashear property to find one horse dead and several in bad condition from malnourishment and lack of care. Both BEHS and HCSO had received several reports during the month of neglect regarding the Brashear horses. After a deputy went out on Friday, July 17, Simpson was contacted for assistance from BEHS.

After Simpson, a sergeant with Sulphur Springs Police Department, got permission to spend the time assisting HCSO on behalf of BEHS, she went out with a deputy and confirmed that more than two dozen horses including foals, mares and stallions were malnourished. The area was barren, and the animals showed evidence they’d been eating dirt and rocks. The only food available was hay which Simpson said looked to be old and appeared to have mold in it.

In the past, when the Mount Pleasant man who owns the animals was contacted, he’d bring out some hay and leave it, according to Simpson. The horses had fallen into such as bad state of neglect that BEHS and HCSO believed immediate intervention was necessary for the horses’ survival.

The officers and BEHS worked together to compile an affidavit, which they presented to Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King. On Saturday morning, July 18, the judge issued a warrant to seize the horses. BEHS volunteers accompanied sheriff’s deputies to the property, where they removed 18 horses, including four mares, four fillies under the age of 2, and three horses born this year. The rest were stallions and stud colts. Officials had received reports of a dead foal but did not find the animal or a carcass. One mare was dead, however, and another had taken on care of its colt, according to Simpson.

The horses were all suffering from malnourishment. Two suffered from muscle problems due to the extreme state of malnourishment. Others had infections, and many had scrapes and bites thought to have been caused from being “beat up” by the stallions and studs, including one of the males, according to Simpson.

After the animals were removed from the Brashear property, those in most immediate need of medical treatment were taken to the veterinarian. Others were placed in foster homes to be cared for and rehabilitated.

BEHS scrambled to find temporary foster homes for the horses as other recent seizures — like the 57 Arabians seized in May from a Hopkins County owner — have filled the properties of program volunteers and foster locations to capacity.

The rescue group is currently caring for more than 100 horses and cannot continue to help law enforcement with neglect and abuse cases without public help in the form of more foster and adoptive homes, according to to Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society President Jennifer Williams.

Simpson was able to contact just enough people to help house all of the animals, but said the organization had to turn down a request this week from El Paso to house 30 horses as BEHS simply does not have the room.

“This is happening all over Texas,” Simpson said. “We’ve got to get foster and adoptive homes for those ready for adoption. We’ve got to get something going or we’re not going to be able to help sheriff’s departments with horses. They’ll be on their own to take and pay the cost of taking care of them. Most sheriff’s offices don’t have the money or want the cost of that so they can’t or don’t help. The horse economy is bad. You almost can’t get anything for them right now. People are not able to take care of them. They should try to sell them, and if they can’t, give them away to someone that can take care of them.”

BEHS has been caring for the horses rescued July 18, and because of Judge King’s ruling Monday awarding the equines to BEHS, the rescue group will continue to do so until they are healthy and can be adopted to new families.

The horse owner admitted in court that the horses did appear to be in “bad shape.” He said he’d been checking on them once a week to put out hay but wasn’t aware any of the horses were dead. He told officials he was unable to better care for the animals and had tried unsuccessfully to sell them, Simpson said.

The rehabilitation of the horses is expected to take several months and will cost the BEHS thousands of dollars, mostly out of the volunteers’ own pockets.

Thus, King “ordered the horses’ owner to pay restitution to BEHS for the cost of performing the seizure and preparing for court.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation can contact Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society by calling 1-888-542-5163, sending an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or go online to www.bluebonnetequine.org.

More information about becoming a foster caregiver for these or other neglected horses is available through those contacts.  Information about available horses can also be obtained by contacting BEHS or on the website.

“Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society also has over 60 horses available for adoption. If you have room to add a horse to your farm, consider adopting one of the horses in the rescue’s care,” Williams urges.

Simpson said that aside from two horses that had to be euthanized due to crippling conditions related to the neglect, all of the Arabians rescued in Hopkins County are now healthy and available for adoption in addition to numerous others that have been rescued by the group. Simpson, who is an active member of three equine rescue groups, encourages anyone who’s considering getting a horse to consider adopting one from BEHS or another rescue groups’ horses.

 

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