Yesterday, January 7, 2012, was a day that I spent half my time asking, as others were also doing, how could anyone let this happen? Through Facebook I was following the posts regarding the 60 horses that were seized in Many, LA and on Friday when I saw that Donna Keen from Remember Me Rescue was heading to Many the next day I called and ask if my photographic skills would be useful. The answer was a definite yes, so early Saturday morning I headed to Many, LA, never envisioning that I would set down and want to write up my experience of that day.
After the four and a half hour drive and then turning down a dirt road, going over a cattle guard and wondering if I had missed my turn I came upon the stables of the O’l Home Place in Many, LA. By the time I arrived Donna and others had already viewed the horse that were stalled and had moved on to view and evaluate the horses that were pastured, so I began photographing my experience.
At one point in time, I would believe that this facility was a great location but had been allowed to deteriorate. The equipment was broken down and rusting, moldy hay and it appeared that the stalls had not be mucked out in months if not a year or more. There was a wall of tack that had been left in the elements to dry rot and there was trash everywhere.
In the stall area there were twenty horses and I was told that these were the healthiest horses of the bunch and instead of the reported 60 horses there were many more. The horses that were in the stall area, when I arrived, have a good chance of survival. Even though they are Thoroughbred they will probably never be able to race. In some cases their health issues today will hamper them for years to come, this doesn’t mean that they will not be fun loving horses and great pets. The horses in the pastures are a different story and have a questionable survival rate. A large number will probably have to be put down for humane reasons.
On today’s visit there were representatives from three or four different rescue services, from three different states, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. The Humane Society and the LSU Veterinarian and his assistances were there along with horse lovers who came out to assist and drop off supplies, KTBS, Channel 3 also had a reporter on site for part of the day. Also there was a gentleman who was identified to me as the facility’s trainer who in my opinion is as responsible for these horrific conditions as the owner.
The hay that was on the premises was old and moldy and not fit for the horses to eat. One group showed up with 50 bales of hay and bags of pellets. With the number of horses we are talking about this will not last long, but it is a start and probably kept a number of horses alive for yet another day. Part of the hay was put directly in the pastures and after much discussion it was decided to put the rest of the hay in one of the empty stalls after pallets had been put down. This decision was made due to the fear that if the hay was left out in the fields the horses would over eat and make their precarious situation even worse. We know there will be volunteers out tomorrow to make sure the horses are feed and taken care of and arrangements will be made to monitor the feeding until all the horses are either fostered, adopted, or otherwise disposed of.
After being checked out by the Vet and locating paper work and Coggins, five horses from the stall area left for foster care in Mississippi. In the afternoon, the little three month old baby found a foster home about 15 to 20 minutes away and left in the evening. Depending on paper work issues one possibly two will be in foster care in Texas, at Remember Me Rescue and heading there hopefully on Sunday.
Besides being malnourished some of the issues these horses are facing include infections and heart problems along with the hours of grooming it is going to take to get these guys and gals presentable. Below are pictures that represent just a small portion of the problems these horses have.
After all of the horses in the stall area were evaluated by the LSU Vet and the first five on their way, horses were re-organized, temporary fencing was moved and then we proceeded to one of the pastures and began rounding up the some of the ponies. Most of these were easy to round up, all we had to do was to run the water into the troth and shake a bag of pellets and there they were willing and ready to be loaded into the trailer. One little guy did give us a run for our money, figuratively and literally speaking, but in the end he too was caught and then they were all taken back to the stall area, where after reinforcing the area at the end of the stalls they were released to be evaluated tomorrow morning since the sun had, by the time we had gotten back, gone down.
On our way over to the pasture to pick up the ponies I thought to myself this is basically a puppy mill but for horses and when we arrived at the pasture, to my surprise there were kennels and at least one dog still in the area. The dog that I saw appeared to be a Beagle but since I am not an expert I may be wrong, either way the dog appeared to be as malnourished as the horses on the property. Now while we were handling all of this we also had cattle visiting throughout the day.
This is just one day and there are many more days to come and many expenses that will be incurred. One of the most troubling aspects of this whole event is that during the day we were told that the trainer has indicated the owner will try and retain ownership of some of these horses. The Humane Society representative did tell us that this was his understanding and that in the end the Judge would make the final decision.
Was there a bright side to this day, you may be asking, yes there was. These horses, with the conditions they are living in still have compassion and love for us, humans.
If you can foster one of these great animals send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot foster but can contribute a little something please send your contribution to Remember Me Rescue, 4100 Conveyor Dr., Burleson, Texas. You can also donate via the website www.teamkeen.com. Any amount will help out, if enough people who have only a dollar donate that dollar, it will add up real fast.