If you’ve been following along on the horse slaughter issue at all I’m sure you’ve heard a common PSA stance that if we don’t want horse slaughter, then all us anti people should just take in all the unwanted horses. Never mind the fact that many of us have our own horses and make a point of not contributing to the slaughter pipeline, nor do we hoard, breed irresponsibly, or otherwise go over the limits of personal finances or time. The fact we think slaughter is wrong means it’s up to us to pick up the slack for all the assholes that can’t use common sense or financial responsibility as it pertains to animal husbandry. Not sure about the rest of you, but I am sick and tired of hearing that. Once again, there has been a large seizure of horses and that’s not happy news. Even though the horses belonged to a UH PSA, I’m finding zero amusement in this particular situation. The PSA first reached out for help on the UH page back in March of this year. This is a long story, so you best grab your coffee or whatever sustains you and settle in…
“In less than a month my little ranch is going to be in a foreclosure sale if I can’t find a way to bail it out. That means selling some/most of my horses which I’ve been trying to do for about 6 months now…with one sold. If the sale takes place the horses, dogs, cats and I will all be homeless. I’ve worked long and hard and put a lot of money into building a herd with the kind of bloodlines that would make the kind of foals I think/hope will sell to competitive people wanting to show horses. Yes, I’m one of the dreaded breeders…..who has had very few foals over the last several years and realized with the market that they would likely have to be held until they were two or older and started under saddle. I was good with that. Then one disaster after another came along including some health issues that have gotten worse over the last couple years and will require surgery to fix. I can still do the ground work but am not riding. Job loss and lousy renters that took 7 months to get out of the extra house meant no money to send horses out to a trainer. I’m not asking an arm and a leg for the young stock. And I’m working hard to find a way to keep the mare herd intact for the most part….a few are for sale while the rest are available for on-site leasing for breeders who don’t want to buy, ship and then breed and then perhaps decide to not use the mare and have to sell her. The leases cover her costs which would have to be done if she was bought so there is some savings. I’m asking for help from the horse community….if you know of someone who wants a nicely bred young horse for a project or would love to get a foal from a well bred mare and can’t find one or doesn’t want to buy and keep one forever have them contact me. Things are getting scarey and I do not want to send daughters, sisters, granddaughters of world champions to slaughter in a couple more weeks.”
This is the first instance of this person reaching out to the United Horsemen for help. The same group that mobilized a work party to bail Nancy Skakel’s sorry ass out of trouble when her horses were seized and she was charged with neglect and cruelty. Anyhow, our current PSA in trouble has some suggestions made to her by fellow PSAs, but she wanted to maintain some control over the situation I guess.
“.I know this sounds really bad…..but giving away horses is a really bad idea around here. I just can’t see giving daughters and sisters of world champions to someone to breed mules with. Or try to make into a barrel horse at the age of 15 when she’s been a broodie for her entire life. I truly would rather see them go to slaughter than some of the things that happen to free horses….at least it would be quick.”
– Keep this statement in mind. It’s going to be quite chilling when we get to current events.
“I suggest if you get to that point of sending quality stock to slaughter, you turn to your UH group and ask for assistance in finding them REPUTABLE homes. We may be able to ask for rescue transport assistance. There are fates worse than death, BUT you have a group of people around you who would likely work with you to take these horses on. Trust those in your circle and offer these guys free to people you KNOW.”
– Ok there’s a vague offer of help. I’m not sure of the sincerity of it, but it’s there.
“I’ve been asking for help for several months now (and working at selling horses for over a year since the job disappeared) and a few people have made suggestions that have been helpful but what I hear most is that I should just give them away. That sounds almost like the anti-slaughter folks rhetoric to me (give us your free horses). And frankly, giving them away doesn’t do much except take them off the feed bill…I need to SELL some in order to keep the ranch from going into sale and myself going homeless. I am feeding them….and if I loose my home I’ll find a way to continue to feed them if I have to find a bare patch of desert and throw a hot wire around it and haul hay and water….and live in my truck to do it…summers coming and it won’t be cold again until late October.”
– Remember this was back in March. She’s going to do what it takes to feed these animals and she doesn’t want to give any away.
“…if it comes down to it I can keep some for you, no charge. I have acrage and hay. I just can’t keep the studs, I have more than I need of my own. When you get back on your feet you can come get them.I dont know if that will help and I have no problem signing any legal document stating they are yours so you don’t think they would go down the road.””
– There’s a firm offer of assistance. I have no idea whether or not it was accepted. This same person expressed interest in working a deal for one of the young horses as well. Again, I have no clue whether or not she was taken up on her offers.
After a few other offers were thrown out, some of the PSAs actually attempted to talk some sense into this person. No, they weren’t our usual suspects, but PSAs just the same…
“At a $1000 that’s a tuff sale in this market with their breeding. You can buy REALLY nice horses threw sales at $800-5000 and they don’t even come close to the stud fee. I would list them on Craigslist in surrounding states but realistically you will get like $200-500 maybe $750 for them. I would do dream horse, Craigslist, fb sale pages and just mark them low So they will go”
– Sounds reasonable enough?
“I don’t know why you think these are such poorly bred horses. I don’t want to get into it but damn….world champion, NRHA Open and limited open, NRHA Bronze, for sires….there are a lot of QH’s out there without that good of a sire that are selling. Or PCCHA fut. finalist, John Wayne Derby finalist, NRCHA COA….these aren’t good enough? Do you have any idea how few Paints have anything like this on their papers? Do you have Docs Hickory on papers on your Paints….or Doc Bar? I am willing to sell for lowered prices but am NOT giving away these bloodlines. In many of them a grandson or granddaughter is as close as you can get to the big QH names in the Paint world…many of those horses were NEVER bred to Paint mares at all. There are maybe a half dozen Paint grandsons of Doc Bar in the world today.”
– Your horses are worth exactly what somebody else is willing to pay for them. Nothing less, nothing more.
“I’m not saying their not nice any horse can be nice but 1 paints don’t bring much money 2 they are bred decent but not high dollar bred. if you really want to get of your pickle then they need realistic price tags.”
– Again, this is sound advice. This woman is about to lose her ranch and ability to feed them. She needs to get some horses off her feed bill somehow.
“.Paints have traditionally brought less $ as they have also traditionally had less in the way of breeding. Some of us are working at changing that by incorporating the best QH lines we can find and afford with the top of the Paint performance lines. I don’t expect top QH prices but I do expect to be above meat price when the pedigree for working is there. There probably aren’t a lot of Paints out there from daughters of Boon Bar…and in foal to $ earning son of Lenas Sugarman out of a SCO daughter. The young stallion here….is a homozygous tobiano whose pedigree is entirely QH with the exception of one line to color both top and bottom…and that goes through Delta, the first Paint in the NCHA Hall of Fame and dam of a Superstakes winner. That may not count for much in your world but in the Paint world….that’s decent. And since he’s HZ it means I can find the very well bred QH mares and get colored foals with good breeding….such as the Docs Stylish Oak/Nu Cash granddaughter I have (both sire and dam are $ earners) or the double Docs Hickory (and her daughter by Slamin Doors, a Haida’s Little Pep out of a SLL daughter). I think those pedigrees will stand up to even some of the most critical of QH breeders.”
– None of this PSA’s horses are broke to ride. While her dream is admirable, there comes a time to cut bait and face up to the reality of the current situation.
Ok, remember this all went on back in March of this year. She has clearly stated she would rather see her horses go to slaughter rather than give them away, yet has shown resistance to lowering her prices or having just anybody buying these horses. She also stated that she was prepared to live in her truck in order to keep these animals fed if it came to that. In May she posted that she had found an acreage to rent for herself and her animals but was still looking to sell or lease a few out. She did mention that water would need to be hauled, but there was a `pond’ for the horses to drink out of. Late in June, I posted another quote from this PSA from the HFA page.
“ Ranch in foreclosure and I’m moving….can’t take them all with me. Priced from $1 to $750. Some registered, some not, some can be and have paperwork ready. Yearlings to 5 year old. Some have been saddled/bridled but I can no longer ride and can’t afford trainer. Well bred for cattle work….bloodlines include Doc Quixote, Doc O’Lena, Docss Hickory, QT Poco Streke, Ris Key Business, Smoke N Cotton, Broadway Doc, Docs Muchacho and others….on papers or three generation pedigrees for the couple not registerable.
Out of time, money, hay….keeping only the very core of the breeding program“
– Seems she had finally decided to lower her prices, but it turns out that `some’ aren’t even registered and can’t be. Yet, this PSA still wants to keep her breeding program up and running. She has lost her farm, she does not have a job and she has `health issues’, but intends to keep right on breeding. She has mares in foal for next year. There is no mention that she has shipped any to slaughter or sold many, if any. I would suspect the situation is getting quite dire at this point. Last week this was posted all across the net…
“Long long story…..end result…..34 horses taken without search warrant, without seizure warrant, no show cause that I can clearly see. Deputies came in with statement that they would help in getting an old, ill horse put down….local vet refused care unless I had full amou
nt in hand (his office staff…he didn’t talk with me directly…”busy, he can’t take call” from staff). Horse was ill last winter, got better, got sick again, got better, moved, did not tolerate being confined in pen (used to 20 acres and running in bachelor herd with buddies), got sick again, mild colic (treated for possible sand..new place is a sand pile), got better, sore front foot, blew abscess out of coronet, got better, got sore again, treated with epsom salt soaks, antibiotics, bute, omeprazole for possible ulcers, lots of feed (eating approx 30 lbs alfalfa a day in hay plus sr feed, calf manna, oil)….began loosing wt seriously about mid July. Decision made early Aug to put him down as soon as I had money to do so….on radio classifieds trying to sell stuff, find extra work etc, horses on there as well and on Dreamhorse, Craigslist etc….no buyers anywhere. Deputy out July 1 on anonymous complaint and found no neglect….one or two slightly thin (including sick older horse and two that had strangles prior to moving down here and two that had sand colicked almost on arrival here) and some yearlings with needed hoof trims….needed help in doing them as they arent yet trained to stand tied and nothing here really strong enough to risk them pulling back against). Said he did followups a couple times and saw no changes that looked like neglect but did not come on property to see pens (not visible from road) could only see pasture with binoculars. Sister died in Aug. and that took some time/attention/money. Buying 40 bales (105-110 lbs each or slightly more) a week……around 4200-4400 lbs of hay a week…nice alfalfa. Feeding 34 head an average of about 640 lbs a day (some are yearlings and most adults are 14.2 sized so not 1100-1200 lb animals). On 9/6 I got home to a note from deputy (placed on house door….had to climb over fence….gate locked) that they had an anonymous complaint regarding horses and please call. I did so. Told that they would be out to see in the a.m. When they got here they said they understood that there was a sick animal…I said yes, that I was trying to gather the $ to put him down, that $ resources were somewhat depleted by having to buy generator, pump and pressure tank for well and for sisters final expenses and they said they had resources and could help me. Came in, looked at all horses (still a few thin ones…..had been sand treated, pulled out of herd and were being fed extra to regain lost wt….and 3 that needed feet done…helper on vacation and would help upon return in several more days at end of the weekend). Said they would have vet out to help with putting old stud down. I agreed and gave verbal permission. Vet called….same one whose office refused services more than a month earlier (only one full time large animal vet clinic here….one other that comes in occasionally and I wasn’t aware of him at that time). Vet did NOT put the horse down, did not do hands on assessement of horses, said entire herd malnourished and recommended impounding all. I got as many photos as I could but ran out of battery power. Loaded them (including sick guy) into stock trailer and hauled them about 5 miles away to sales yard. Took until about 10pm and they hauled mares with stallions, long yearling colts/fillies together, were going to haul adult breeding stallions together as well. No receipt, no charges of neglect, no arrest. Sunday a deputy came by and gave me a notice of seizure listing the horses with very brief descriptions (some so vague as to not be able to ID the horse and including the description of a gelding….there was no gelding here…..and a roan mare…no roans here…..descriptions via NV Dept of Ag brand inspectors. Notice included info that the horses were at the sales yard where a $5/head/day board fee was being charged under a “limited lien” (only thing I can find says they can only charge board for up to 14 days). Notice said a hearing scheduled on Wed, 9/12 to determine if the horses were to be sold, put to sleep or turned over to an officer to do with as he saw fit. Says the cause of seizure was the horses were malnourished and in poor environment. Notice was not dated or timed regarding service….I insisted the officer do so and he reluctantly did it (and signed) when I pointed out that without date/time of service I could claim I didn’t get it at all….or just hours before the hearing. On Tuesday, 9/11, a deputy again climbed over my fence to present me (I was in the house which sits about 300 feet back from the road/gate, reading a book and cooling off after doing some outdoor work…scared the bejesus out of me when he banged on the door) with a form requesting my permission to have the old stallion put down. I told him I couldn’t give permission as it was not clear if I still owned the horses or not since the brand inspectors were on site on Friday when they were taken….brand inspection is used for a change in ownership here. Told him they had my permission, in fact, had my request that the horse be put down on Friday and the vets statement it was needed immediately….that they had held off doing this for 4 days in order to accomplish it on the day the sale yard is open to the public and doing so on Tues would garner them a lot of publicity….that they needed to go to the court for a court order to put him down. Wed. 9/12 was the hearing….at this they claimed that the horses were starved and in poor condition, that the pond on the property was not adequate for watering the field horses (never mind that horses have lived there and drank from that pond for over 20 years), that the 2 12×12 pens with single horses in them were too small, that the other pens (ranging from 12×16, 12×22, 12x 24 and 18×24) were also too small and that having three yearlings (remember that these are horses that mature to 14.2 or 14.3) in a 12 x 24 was far too crowded. They claimed no hay (there were photos of 14 bales ), no feed (two 33 gallon garbage cans with sr feed in one, alfalfa pellets in the other) and that the chewed on 20+ year old fence posts were evidence that the horses were eating wood due to starvation. I was still not charged with anything. I asked for more time to find legal assistance. Was accidently given a copy of photos that they took….they took no photos of any of the hroses in good condition..none, not a single one. Got a one week extension to today. Taking a short break….back in a few minutes.
OK….today……hearing to determine if horses should be sold, put down, handed to an officer to do as he sees fit. Still no charges against me. Threw them a slight curve last week with info that two of the horses they took were leased by me. During the week I found a number of things. One is that the ONLY neighbor who can see my back field and pens is also one who has tried to divert water from the ditch that feeds the pond (it is run off/tail water from irrigation system) to water his back 5 acres and raise a herd of meat goats (he has no irrigation rights….what you need to have..ie…pay for…to irrigate more than maybe a yard sized patch)….and his wife works for sheriff’s dispatch. He CLAIMS he nor wife are behind this and that in fact his wife just accidently heard a discussion at a restaurant in Reno (60 miles away) from a woman at a table behind her saying she had been to Fallon to see some horses for sale and they were all starving to death…..wife reportedly turned and asked “where in Fallon” and was given my location. Interesting….I’ve had no women from Reno and only one woman at all out to see horses in the last 2 months. There is a religious group here whose members hold many if not most e positions of authority including high positions in sheriffs office, many other spots, justice of the peace, judges etc. My neighbor is also a member. Don’t know if that’s significant or not. During the week I tried to get an attorney….was told that since I had no charges filed against me there really wasn’t a case for them to take on. Also told my one that this sort of thing would never happen to him “because my family has been here for over 100 years and the law is not equally enforced here”…..that’s a quote. Got some photos of the horses yesterday….and they are running a 3 1/2 year stallion and 3 long yearling stallions with the mares and long yearling fillies. Deputies today couldn’t remember a lot of stuff, had only their opinion (and no training) regarding whether or not horses were neglected. Was told by Justice of the Peace and assistant DA that since I had no attorney and was acting in my own defence (for what? no charges filed!) I would have immunity for anything I said. I took this as an offer to become meek and mild and apologetic and cry some and maybe get some of my animals back. Not happening. So….it got interesting with lots of stuff….vet couldn’t remember any of the horses that were above a 3 unless I could refresh his memory with a photo (they didn’t take any and I ran out of battery early on in this and the ones taken yesterday at the sales yard were “too far away, I can’t tell what condition they are in”). Vet admitted that a horse that sand colicked could loose dramatic amounts of wt and that after treatment and refeeding it could take several months for them to regain and that that situation was not neglect. He didn’t know when the old horse was put down or which vet in the clinic did so but admitted that something like cancer, internal abscesses from strangles or pigeon fever (both of which the stud had within the last 8-9 months), ulcers (possibly from confinement), foot abscesses etc could cause wt loss. Also claimed the horse was badly foundered in both front feet with rotation but no photos, no x-rays to prove it. Lots more stuff but upshot is that they are offering the horses to NE Horse Rescue (Elko, NV area I think) and those that don’t go there will be sold at the next available sale (could be later this afternoon or next Tues). When I was asked for a “final statement from the defence” I again pointed out I had not been charged with anything but that this hearing had apparently been a trial in front of a justice of the peace over whether or not my horses were neglected. This JP by the way, was previously a sheriffs dept employee…..in charge of the jail. And is running for office. When I asked the jp if the lien holder was going to follow the NRS regarding foreclosure of a board lien (has some notification and time line requirements) he slammed his gavel down and said that court was adjourned. Feel free to cross post this anywhere possible. This occured in Churchill County, NV, under sheriff Trotter and JP Mike Richards. The vet involved was Dr David Faught (trained at Washington State) of Lahontan Valley Vet Clinic. He testified that he didn’t have to do a hands on assessment of animals to determine body condition score, could not give the name of the developer of the BCS and said that “eyes on” is sufficient.”
– 34 horses were seized and in poor condition. One horse in such bad condition it had to be put down right away and allegedly none of the horses above a 3 in body score. At this point I’m not even sure where to place my outrage at this situation. For sure I’m pissed at this PSA for letting things go this far by being completely stubborn and barn blind. I’m pissed that the UH who claim to be all about helping each other didn’t step up and do anything meaningful when they claim that’s what they’re all about. Rest assured, these assholes have plenty to say about this situation now….
“i read that and am not really sure on the whole deal… there is always two sides to a story, but anyway i look at this its not a good deal.. you cant just snatch peoples property and sell it… this is america, i would love to see pictures of the horses, i know dorothy has been over her head for awhile, she has some very well bred paints i studyied the pedigree’s when she was trying to sell them.. she was firm on her prices and was to high the market right now.. as you know brood mares are a dime a dozen.”
– I actually agree with this person. There are two sides and I haven’t seen many current pictures of these horses either. There is no way they could have just taken her horses without warning or proper investigation.
“I have been an expert witness on several unjustified seizures, now. Win or lose the owner is on the hook for huge bills! Even if innocent! So far they have all been older single women with 20-100 horses….”
– Unless you are wealthy enough to afford the staff, no SINGLE person should ever have 20-100 horses, especially an older single woman. WTF?
“i feel very sorry for her-she mentions it in passing but can you imagine having your sister pass away in the middle of this? where is the compassion from the authorities?”
– Where was your compassion for this person before things got away from her? Where is your compassion for the animals that were starving and neglected?
“She has done nothing wrong! Where is the outrage from the world?“
– Oh trust me, I’m very outraged right now. I’m outraged on several levels….
“NOBODY has the right to come in and take your property just because they “think” you aren’t handling it/them correctly. This is outrageous.”
– Turns out they can. I’ve said it a million times before, horses are not inanimate objects that you can do whatever the hell you want with. There are laws to protect them from neglect and cruelty…property or not.
“There is more to this than overzealous law enforcement. Horses wouldn’t have been taken like this. Almost impossible to get them to do anything, in any state, even when horses are laying down and dying of starvation right in front of them, so if they seized them? It was bad.If you aren’t caring for your animals, or your family, someone needs to step in. If you don’t have the money to care for them, feed them, or vet them, you don’t need them.
And she has been in trouble a while now too, and kept breeding horses, when it was clear the economy was going down in the horse market. If you can’t sell the ones already on the ground, QUIT BREEDING.”
– I feel like I have just found a living unicorn or the lost city of Atlantis! An actual PSA with common sense and clarity! WOW!
“But who are you, XXXX – or anyone else for that matter- to tell her how to live her life? It’s nobody’s business but her own. It’s no different than me trying to tell you, “Well you already have 5 horses, you don’t need to breed another one, so I’m going to call law enforcement and tell them to come take all your horses away because you have a problem.” Whether or not you and I agree with how she’s handling her herd, it is her own business.”
– I bet this PSA has posters of Crazyass Steve King AND Michael Vick on her bedroom walls.
“She didn’t have any bred until sheriff put studs with mares…”
– Yup, she did have bred mares prior to seizure unless all the ones she bred this spring slipped their foals due to malnutrition.
“deputies climbed her fence to inspect the property the gate was locked and she was away. Deputies know nothing about horses or animal abuse cases by their teestimony in court.….
– What was she hiding behind locked gates? Our gates are open nearly all the time except when I remember to go up and close them at night.
One of the rescued horses with skin blistering off it
One of the rescued babies…
Feet of the above filly…
As of right now, there is a Paypal account set up to send Dorothy Robertson, the accused, money and a few UH people are allegedly trying to help her out. The county sheriff involved in the seizure of these horses said that some had feet grown out so far they were having trouble walking and all were malnourished, some severely so. I’ll leave some news links at the bottom for you to look at. There is a rescue currently involved called Northeastern Nevada Equine Rescue and they are already taking some heat from the PSAs on Facebook. While I find this to be a very sad situation, I’m extremely pissed off. PSAs, including the one involved in this mess all tell us slaughter beats starvation. Dorothy vowed to ship her horses to slaughter within a few weeks all the way back in spring. Yet, here we are near the end of September and they are starving and dying with elf boots for feet. I guess her promise to live in her truck in order to keep them fed was just playing for the crowd? We are supposed to feel bad because she lost her sister during all this upheaval. Well, I’ve lost people near and dear to me over the years and had my own share of trials and tribulations as well and do you know what? Not once did my animals ever go hungry or suffer neglect during those times. She also had 34 head of horses on 10 acres with no running water. WTF??????
While Dorothy says the horse that was euthanized was an older stallion who had sand colic early and she had asked for somebody to euthanize him, Monte Bruck from the Livestock Exchange, where the animals are currently being held, stated “It was starved to death. It was the worse case I’ve ever seen.” None of this should have come as any surprise to her since she was given a warning from sheriff deputies on July 1st of this year about the condition of some of her horses and their feet and one was taken and euthanized at that point. News report here if you watch the linked video: (http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/More-Starving–Neglected-Horses-169555346.html). She refused to give any away or lower her prices beyond what she felt was her due and now we have a glut of horses likely heading to either a kill buyer or rescue. Somehow this is going to be spun into a reason we need slaughter, but this PSA ,who supports slaughter, did not avail herself of that option. This is classic hoarding and abuse and a slaughter-house in every state is never going to prevent this crap from happening. This is the manifestation of a mental illness and now a bunch of innocent horses are going to pay the price. Dorothy Robertson and all her little champions over on the United Horsemen page should be ashamed of themselves.
One of the seized horse’s feet
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