I put this at the top of my page, but I hope you take the time to read the rest before going on to it.
Here's my story. I've been trying to start a breeding program with horses for a few years now. I had an excellent start when I was involved in an automobile accident and left unable to work. I'm still employed so when the doctor does release me I do have a job to go back to. Not to mention the settlement from the lawsuit in pending. The doctors have had me off work for a few months now. Well, in that time three out of thirteen of my horses lost enough weight to warrant consideration for "rescue". They weren't starving, just under ideal weight. I decided to sell a bunch of them at an extremely low price. Another option I'd considered was to lease them until I was back on my feet. A few people even came out to look at them. I was completely honest with these people about why the horses were being offered at such a low price. Well, rather than helping me out by purchasing these horses, they decide to "rescue" them. They got a Hunt County constable to seize the horses. In the first court hearing two of the five horses they took were returned. They seized another bunch and I lost all three of them. Though the humane society as well as two sheriffs deputies saw not enough wrong with them to warrant seizing, apparently Constable Lewis did. Another seizure is in the works for the remaining horses though the constable made a deal with me. He told me that he'd leave them if I helped him catch one he was having problems with and included the condition that I have them out of the county by the time I had to go to court. He even removed two horses listed on the original warrant and included them in the deal. I think this right here is proof that there wasn't enough wrong with the horses to warrant seizure. The remaining horses were removed from the county by the time he'd given, but now he's gone back on his word.
Keep in mind, there's a chart they go by for figuring a horses body condition. It's called the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System. The Henneke Scoring System is a scientific method of evaluating a horse's body condition regardless of breed, body type, sex or age. The Chart is accepted in a court of law. The Chart rates the horses on a scale of 1 to 9. A score of 1 is considered poor or emaciated with no body fat. A 9 is extremely fat or obese. Horse veterinarians consider a body score of between 4 and 7 as acceptable. A 5 is considered ideal. The horses they "rescued" from me ranged from 3 to 6. Two of the horses with a rating of 4 were returned. The rest were "rescued". Yes, even the one that rated a 6 as well as another rating a 4. The worst, not belonging to me but pastured with my horses, was left, supposedly under veterinary care. This horse had gotten an infection in a wound and it took him down fast. By the time the constable got out there he was already down and unable to get to his feet. Yes, a veterinarian was called to look at the horse. He doctored him and gave him a few shots. Then told the owners to give him a call in three days. They left him lying in the cold rain with no way to get to food or water. The veterinarian was never called back because the horse later died. Constable Lewis left him because, as he said, "he was no benefit to us" and the owners were never charged. I thought they were looking to benefit the horses, not themselves. But that apparently is not the case. If the veterinarian had thought he was too bad off to save, he would have euthenized him on the spot.
What I find extremely suspicious is that members of Lone Star Equine Rescue have first dibs on purchasing a horse put up for adoption. Those would be the same people who came out looking to purchase a horse from me. One claimed she couldn't afford to purchase my horses at the extremely low rate I was asking; yet she's got plenty of money to put into supposed "rescue" horses. She also couldn't find anyone else interested in purchasing any of the horses I had for sale; yet they're "rescuing" them and later putting them up for adoption.
I've talked with the county sheriff about what's going on. He's interested in looking into it to see if they're not "legally" stealing horses. One of the deputies I talked to says that if the humane society is called out, they will give you a warning and a short time to do something with your animals (these are the people you see on those shows on animal planet). Lone Star Equine Rescue, though they state on their homepage that they will help owners, does it differently. A member comes out to your place and then harasses the county officials until they find someone who will take action. You are left completely in the dark thinking you're dealing with honest people until you're issued a warrant for seizure of your animals.
When the Humane Society came out, all they did was ask for information about my vet and farrier. The sheriff’s deputies that came said nothing about the horses being bad off. One even gave advice on how to treat a wound one of my horses had since he’d been through the same thing with one of his own. None of them saw any reason to take further action. Constable Lewis was the only one of four officials who thought the horses were so bad off they needed "rescuing". The sheriff found that to be extremely suspicious. My first hearing over the first five horses that were seized was fair. However, I was told before that hearing that it was just a hearing and attorneys wouldn't be involved so I was shocked when I found out there was a prosecuting attorney at the second hearing. Not to mention five "witnesses" from Lone Star Equine Rescue. In the end, they were smiling, laughing, and shaking hands with Constable Lewis when the judge issued the horses be turned over to them. Guess the constable can add what they got from me to the many he’d bragged about seizing when I first met with him.
**UPDATE** Judge Reeves decided to go along with having the SPCA come out to see the remaining horses. On Wednesday, December 17, 2003, Ken Qualls of the SPCA came out with another officer from the department. Neither of them saw anything wrong with the horses. I have been informed that the Hunt County Sheriff is working to keep Lone Star out of his county. I may not get my horses back, but I have successfully gotten an investigation going. Hopefully I've made it harder for anyone else to lose theirs to Lone Star Equine Rescue. Mr. Qualls even informed me that it was too suspicious that I was given no warning before the seizure of my other horses was made. SPCA works with the Sheriffs deptartment, not the constables. I also found that the first lady who came out claiming to be from the SPCA was fired from the department last year and has since been posing as an official. *Beware of a lady named Marty claiming to be from the SPCA. She was fired last year and is illegally posing as an official.*
Like I said, they say they want to "HELP", but all they do is ruin everything you've worked for. They could have helped me to find homes for my horses at the low prices I was asking. They'll have to find homes for them now. But they get the money from the sales of horses that I paid for and they got for free. They could have made a deal with me to "lease" the horses for a certain time. Then if I was on my feet I could purchase them back or they would be offered for sale. I'm more than certain I'm not the only person they've done this to. And I know I won't be the last.
PS. To those of you who did actually see the "starving" horses, I'll have you know they hadn't lost weight for a few months. They just weren't gaining it. I was hoping to be back to work LONG ago and everything would have worked out. I probably did give it longer than I should have before finding them new homes. But I was hoping I wouldn't have to give up a life long dream. Again, they hadn't been losing any more weight for months. They just weren't gaining any either. I decided to sell most of them so I could afford to keep a few. But you found it easier to steal them and leave me with nothing to help care for what was awarded back to me. I don't understand why LSER states that they will help owners when that's not what they do. One of the members who came out even told me she'd supply me with some hay. I informed her that if she did that to keep track of what it cost her and I'd pay her back. Instead she harrassed the sheriffs department about it. On top of that, if you're in it for the horses benefit, then why wasn't anyone interested in helping the other horse that later died?