“In October 2016, law enforcement took action after an ISPMB employee posted photos to social media of sick and starving horses – including nearly 30 animals that had died – at ISPMB.”
For several years, the HSUS invested time and financial resources in population control solutions at ISPMB by both providing teams annually to administer the Porcine Zona Pellucida fertility control drug, and hay donations. During these several years, HSUS staff counseled Karen Sussman that her herds were too big to be supported on the land she had. Even when ISPMB chose to discontinue the fertility control program, HSUS offered herd population management suggestions, and options for onsite gelding. Further, HSUS introduced ISPMB to Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which offers support, certification, and accreditation to animal sanctuaries and rescues around the world.
Unfortunately, in 2012 HSUS was forced to cut ties when ISPMB leaders failed to follow our recommendations and take action necessary to manage population growth. While Ms. Sussman continued to plead for assistance to feed her growing herds she repeatedly rejected any assistance to stabilize it. HSUS determined that continuing to assist Ms. Sussman would only lead to more animals in her care and greater suffering.
In April 2016, upon receiving a cruelty complaint about worsening conditions at ISPMB, our South Dakota State Director, Darci Adams, traveled to the ISPMB facility and, based on her observations, contacted the South Dakota Animal Industry Board’s State Veterinarian directly to request a check on the animals’ condition. At that time, the State Veterinarian replied to HSUS that they were aware of the situation and local law enforcement was driving by daily. The HSUS does not have law enforcement authority, so we directed those with complaints and concerns to the SD Animal Industry Board’s State Veterinarian and the Dewey and Ziebach County Sheriff Departments, as they are the agencies with ultimate authority in this matter.
In October 2016, law enforcement took action after an ISPMB employee posted photos to social media of sick and starving horses – including nearly 30 animals that had died – at ISPMB. The State’s Attorneys in Dewey and Ziebach counties entered into an agreement with ISPMB whereby ISPMB agreed to the voluntary impoundment of the horses on ISPMB property while the case was investigated. According to this agreement, until December 1st, ISPMB would reduce the population through voluntary adoptions. After December 1, 2016, the agreement stated the State would determine how many horses could be allowed to stay at ISPMB and how many would be sold at public auction, with the proceeds from the sale being paid first to the counties to cover the expenses of impoundment, and any remaining proceeds paid to ISPMB.