Update on Dual Peppy – no legal right to seize the horses

Rotting horse carcasses left in barn

A very sad update on the article we posted earlier this morning on Habitat for Horses. This happens more often than you can imagine throughout the United States. We can only hope the owners will follow through and take action to rescue these horses.

Habitat for Horses is unable to rescue the horses mentioned in this article as they are in Colorado. There are horse rescues in Colorado. We are uncertain if law enforcement has reached out to any of them. It takes a great deal of money, expert support and facilities to save starving horses – even locally. Few people realize this. Abuse and neglect cases – like Dual Peppy’s case – are reported many times a day across the country – including here in Texas where Habitat for Horses is located. Please support our efforts to save starving horses. Click Here to Donate Now. ~ HfH

From: KRDO
By: Eric Fink

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office: At this point, we do not have the legal right to seize the horses

Rotting horse carcasses left in barn

Rotting horse carcasses left in barn

Only our cameras captured bones and carcasses of more than a dozen horses in a Black Forest barn Friday.

Several others were terribly malnourished, with little food and water.

According to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the living horses are still in that same barn Sunday night.

“I would remind people a picture doesn’t tell the whole story,” Sgt. Greg White, a spokesman for the agency said. “We have to look at the whole picture when we go to these scenes and we have to determine: Do they have food and water?, which they did. At this point, we can’t legally seize the horses.”

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Marty Jackson, a former animal cruelty investigator with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, is pained by the images coming out of the barn.

We’re so close, we’re fiive miles from them,” Jackson said.

This equine expert now owns a hay bank in Black Forest.

“We could have fed these horses or helped them long term. Our grass has been so good this year in the fire areas. It’s really senseless.”

Members of the county’s mounted unit head the investigation.

“They do all of the investigations into horse neglect and abuse in the county of which we get quite a few on a routine basis,” White said. “I want people to understand if we would have seen something that was concerning to the point where we would seize the animal, we would have done it.”

But a Black Forest veterinarian wonders why someone with her training and experience wasn’t called in.

“They should call a vet to come in and have a physical done, council the people who are caring for these horses, inform them of proper feeding and health care,” Dr. Lise Andersen with Rocky Mountain Equine said.

“These horses, they depend on us,” Jackson said. “We put them in a pasture and they can’t fend for themselves. They leave it up to us to give them food, shelter and water and when they fail to do that, this is what happens.”

Raw emotion won’t hold up in court and legally the county cannot take the animals away from that environment.
White said the horse owners are cooperating with the investigation and vowed to clean up the barn.

Currently there are no charges pending in this case.

Read Original Article

15 Comments
  • Janet Schultz

    He is wrong. The law is in place toprotect society from witnessing the brutality of neglectado law specifically states: abandon: leaving the animal wIthout adequate provisions for te aimal’s proper care b its owner, the person responsible for the animal’s care, or any other person having possession oof such animal.

    In effect, the law officer is guilty of abandoning these animals and is liable for investigation. And I’d like to remind this civil servant that photographs put on weight!!!

    September 22, 2014
  • maggie TX

    Someone needs to sneak in there and just remove the living horses and hide them. To hell with being legal. If I lived close enough I’d go get them myself. I can’t stand seeing this neglect. At least the person who used to own that champion cutting horse could get what used to be his and maybe accidently load up the rest of them as well. How do people that neglect horses like this get to keep these poor horses? We need some different laws or change the laws we now have to where if anyone see’s a neglected animal they can be removed then and there.

    September 22, 2014
  • N.Laurel

    The owner used to hold a county office. This is surely a case of “good’ol boys”. ( except that she is a she)

    September 22, 2014
  • S. Foster

    I live in Colorado Springs and we are disgusted and outraged by this situation! I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing any involvement of the Human Society so I messaged them last night. Here was their reply this morning: “Thank you for your concern for these horses! Unfortunately, HSPPR does not have jurisdiction in the Black Forest area. If the El Paso County Sheriff gives us a call, we would be happy to assist.”

    September 22, 2014
    • jfinch

      And they are right. Law enforcement must take the lead. Only in a very few scattered states nonprofit humane societies can handle warrants and seizures. For the rest, the law states that it must be a law enforcement officer must be involved. There are a lot of excellent equine rescues in Colorado who would be more than willing to assist the Sheriff in this case. We’d do it in a second but just, as with every other nonprofit, we must wait until the Sheriff calls.

      September 22, 2014
  • Who are these people??? apparently just because the ride a horse doesn’t make them experts on starvation and neglect. If you can’t look at all the dead horses and the ones that are still barely standing and see there is definitely a big problem, then step aside and let an expert take over. These horses need to get the hell out of there before it is their dead bodies you are looking at. Who is covering who’s ass here??? sounds like the good’ol’boy mentality …

    September 22, 2014
  • Moiselle Bruns

    She held a public office??? I guess the Sheriff is in collusion with them then….. Shame on them!

    September 22, 2014
  • Margaret

    i got a note from Wayne Pacelle last week that abuse and neglect cases are now being reported to FBI.

    Here’s a copy..

    Big News: FBI to Start Tracking Animal Cruelty Cases
    Cruelty to animals will get its own category in federal crime reports for the first time. I got that word yesterday from John Thompson, my friend at the National Sheriffs’ Association, who told me that Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has signed off on including animal cruelty offenses in the Uniform Crime Report. Local agencies will also track them to report to the FBI.

    Horse
    Now that animal cruelty, including animal neglect, is included in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there is a real incentive for law enforcement agencies to pay closer attention to such incidents. Photo: Mike Buscher/The HSUS
    No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the “other offense” category simply because the victims were animals. Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, we will now have critical data on animal cruelty. The HSUS has been pushing for this change in policy for years, along with our affiliates, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and Doris Day Animal League.

    Before this expansion of the FBI’s focus, there was no process for capturing animal cruelty data on the statewide or national level. Capturing such data is especially difficult because animal cruelty laws are enforced by a very large number of local police, sheriffs, and humane society agents and animal control officers.

    But now that animal cruelty, including animal neglect, is included in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there is a real incentive for law enforcement agencies to pay closer attention to such incidents. With accurate data, law enforcement agencies will also be better able to allocate officers and financial resources to handle these cases, track trends and deploy accordingly.

    The decision by the FBI is especially good news for The HSUS, because we are on the frontlines of the battle against animal cruelty in so many ways. We are upgrading state and federal laws, and just this year South Dakota became the 50th state to enact felony penalties for malicious cruelty, and Congress banned attendance at animal fights. Besides the thousands of cases on which we work with law enforcement agencies every year to rescue animals from animal cruelty and fighting, we also travel across the country to train law enforcement officials on how to investigate these crimes.

    So far this year, we have provided training to more than 1,200 officers, representing 300 agencies, and in areas of the country where it is needed most. It is a new training program designed by experts from across the United States (including our own) and we look forward to expanding it in 2015.

    I am enormously grateful for the work of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Department of Justice in recognizing the importance of animal cruelty. This new development, which has been on the radar of the animal protection movement for years, is a practical way of cracking down on cruelty. The decision is also significant in affirming, at the highest levels of our government, that animal cruelty is a vice just like so many other violent crimes. It is the latest tangible gain in our effort to make opposition to animal cruelty a universal value in our society.

    September 22, 2014
  • Kelly

    Purchase the horses from him. Money talks

    September 22, 2014
  • . IF the law has no authority to protect innocent, defenseless living beings, and Rescue those who are clearly ABUSED, STARVED, and NEGLECTED – even unto Death… then FIX the LAWS!!
    . This is CRIMINAL VIOLENCE committed on innocent, defenseless living beings!! There is NOTHING excusable about it!! . They are LIVING BEINGS – not a pieces of farm machinery!!

    . There needs to be a corrected definition of “property”.. such as: NO LIVING BEING CAN BE HELD AS “PROPERTY” AND SUBJECTED TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, OR ANY OTHER BARBARIC ACT OR HARM!!

    . NOBODY should be allowed to hold, in un-healthy captivity, starvation, neglect, and thirst another living being to extremes or to death!! That is BARBARIC, and it needs to STOP!!
    . STRENGTHEN animal protection laws, INCREASE punishment to fit the crime, and STOP forcing innocent living beings to suffer these kinds of TORTUROUS conditions!!

    September 22, 2014
  • Judith Lee

    I want to know how the dead horses died. That has to be answered. If it was starvation or dehydration, there should be charges filed even if, or because, the owner is a public official. A public official should know the law, and shouldn’t have horses if they can’t be cared for. To leave caresses in a barn to decompose with other live animals subject to the health issues associated with decomposition should in it self be a crime. Dead animals should be properly removed from the premises and buried or burned.

    September 22, 2014
  • LNorman

    If there are already dead horses on property, then they can arrest owner and sieze horses – they just don’t want to.

    September 22, 2014
  • Melody Gibson

    Dual Peppy is 22 yrs old and it is much harder for an older horse to recover from starvation then a younger one. Have any of the surviving horses had vet exams? they are probably full of worms, and their hooves are filled with thrush with their teeth in sorry shape. Let alone the obvious starvation. The owner claims 12 horses died from colic in 2 months?? What are they feeding them?? Still not a case for neglect? Shame on all of the local authorities. This is pathetic and unbelievable.

    September 22, 2014
  • S. Foster

    Per KRDO News – “BREAKING: The surviving horses found on a property in Black Forest Friday are being seized and moved to a law enforcement only large animal facility. The Colorado Humane Society is taking the horses and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is taking the llamas. The decision to seize the animals was based on a veterinarian’s assessment today.”

    September 22, 2014
  • Shirley Ragsdale

    I don’t know where you got your information, but the sheriff got a vet out to the property today (Monday) and on his advice, the horses have been seized and moved to a secure location overseen by a group that is familiar with restoring health to starved and abused horses. You need to update your post, ASAP.

    September 22, 2014