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Who Would Do this to Horses?

By Cindy Hale

4-Aug-10

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I’m glad July is over. A pair of sad stories regarding horses put a bit of gloom into what should have been a month filled with trail rides aboard Wally. I’ll share them with you not because I want to spread the sorrow around, but so we can all be aware of what some people are capable of doing to horses. Perhaps if we’re tuned in to how some minds work (or don’t work) we can be on the lookout for neglect and mistreatment.
Here is the first instance, from a brief report filed by the Associated Press on July 16:

Authorities say five horses found dead in a pasture near Tracy, California, appeared to have died of thirst. San Joaquin County deputies say the horses were left without water in 90-degree temperatures for at least three days before being found in the pasture in an unincorporated area near Tracy.

Sheriff's spokesman Les Garcia says the horses were noticed Thursday morning by a motorist. Garcia says that the horses had food, but their water trough was empty. Two other dehydrated horses were found alive and taken to an animal hospital. A veterinarian says one horse is in good condition, but described the condition of the second horse as "touch and go." Garcia says the horses' owner showed up Thursday afternoon and was questioned by authorities.

The owner was “questioned?” I’d do far more than question him. But between dealing out my method of punishment, I guess I’d get around to asking a few questions. Here they are:

1. At what point were you going to get around to checking on your horses’ water?
2. How long have you gone without water?
3. Where, exactly, did your horses rank on your list of priorities?
4. What motivated you to ever acquire these horses in the first place?
5. If you could communicate with the dead horses (which you allowed to die a horrible death from dehydration), what would you say to them?

And if that horrible episode wasn’t enough, about a week later a cute miniature horse was stolen from a nearby high school’s agriculture department. The little gelding, named Gunner, resided in a posh, covered corral at Rubidoux High School, a dusty rural community over the hill from my town. The kids in the Ag Department cared for Gunner and in return he served as the school’s mascot. Known for his puppy dog disposition—one of the students said he’d follow anyone anywhere—sweet little Gunner had been stolen once before. That time, he’d been found unharmed in the possession of a teenaged thief who claimed he’d found Gunner loose alongside the road. Yeah, right.

This time, however, didn’t have a happy ending. Even though Gunner’s corral had been chained and padlocked, someone busted into the corral and stole Gunner again. He was missing for over a week as students and faculty placed fliers around town. Local newspaper articles included pleas to return the little pinto. Then, just a few days ago, it was reported that Gunner’s body had been found in a flood control channel on the outskirts of Rubidoux. Because the little equine body had already been disposed of, no one could tell what had caused Gunner’s death.

Had he been abused before he died? What was the purpose behind stealing a live animal, anyway? Surely Gunner hadn’t been seen as some sort of pawn in a high school prank. I mean, stealing a miniature horse is not quite the same as toilet papering a rival team’s football field before the homecoming game.

Quite often I wonder about what lurks in the hearts of some members of the human race. There’s got to be a special place for people who neglect and mistreat horses. And it sure isn’t Horse Heaven.

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Reader Comments

Kelly    Peyton, CO

9/7/2010 10:24:09 PM

Poor little sweet, innocent Gunnar. May he play with my Brew up in heaven. As for the folks who did this to him, there is a special place in hell for them. I'm sure of that.
As for the people who left their horses with no water, I think they should be put in jail.

Lorie    New Carlisle, IN

8/22/2010 4:58:44 PM

My little paint mare Shawnee was rescued because the previous owner couldn't afford the feed. At least she had enough sense to find a home for her horse before she starved to death. I'm a firm believer that one should not own an animal of any sort if he/she cannot take care of it.

Sandra    Edinburg, TX

8/12/2010 6:40:07 PM

I don't understand how anyone can harm a horse. They need us to care for them. It's not like they can fend for themselves when they are fenced in. How the owner in CA could leave the herd without water is awful? He will get his due in the end

Ashley    Somewhere in, CT

8/11/2010 3:07:19 PM

That's awful. I just ask myself...why? Why would someone take the time to steal Gunner and possibly hurt him? If you don't like him fine, but why would someone hate him that much to do that? I just don't get it.

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