A Vet writes a letter saying the horses came to the Animal Control Officer in the state they were. He condemns people for reporting it. He condemns the press for reporting on it. But he never actually says how long the horses had been there or why some were dying. And it does not take 6 months to get a horse form a BCS of 1 to at least 3 or 4. Just because you are a Vet does not mean you know what you are talking about. I know lots of lawyers who do not know what they are talking about. I am sure there are people out there saying the same thing about me. This Vet did not know what year it is.
Letter from DVM about horses
March 10, 2008
To Whom it May Concern:
This letter is written in response to a situation related to us by Kenny Price and a subsequent farm visit made to a group of horses under his care. Mr. Price has been involved with the rescue and rehabilitation of neglected and undernourished horses for several years. He has other horses under his care that were found to exhibit good body condition. The group in question involves 5-6 horses that are kept together at a rehab pasture at the end of Lauderdale County Road 302 in Alabama. We had been contacted at the behest of Mr. Price due to a complaint of abuse charges against him and the resultant media hype generated by such.
There appeared to be more than 25 acres of land including some wooded land with at least two sources of water. After a couple of days of near 80 degree weather in March, the grasses were greening and all horses were grazing as we arrived. A half eaten roll of sorella mix hay was present and an earlier roll eaten down could be observed. The white horse in the group was in the best condition and has been there since summer. The majority had body condition score of two and appeared to be responding happily though still in a serious state. The critical individual was a sorrel with a BCS of 1 and who is one of the newest additions this winter. This individual is frail but actively grazing. Anemia, which is common in rehab horses, is exhibited via oral mucus membranes. Vitamin B-12 or complexes injections every two weeks were recommended on all individuals for this reason. This individual has received some special care and may require more as her condition evolves.
We discussed the need to de-worm monthly which Mr. Price was already doing. The need to rotate families of de-worming agents was also encouraged. W are both agreed that a sick horse needs fiber from hay and grazing, not abundant grain. (The re-feed phenomenon observed at the end of World War II where several concentration camp survivors were subsequently killed by the generosity of their liberators who gave them too much food too quickly, is very real.) Horses that are rescued are often foundered or caused to colic by their well intentioned new handlers. Mr. Price has avoided these pitfalls in almost twenty years of dealing with such situations. We briefly talked about concurrent illnesses that afflict debilitated horses. This group is battling a common skin infection know as "Rain Rot". Though there are many possible treatments available, we tried to recommend a high yield, easily performed option for this group. As we near the end of winter, many animals need the best quality of feed at this time. Therefore, the supplementation of range cubes from Alfalfa based forage or the introduction of a Bermuda hay source would be advisable. When grain is introduced it should be in small amounts and at frequent intervals.
We briefly alluded to the need to verify by picture future animals that enter the program and initiate the charting of their progress to avoid any confusion by the uninformed. We also recommended that some sort of simple sign be mounted at the gate to designate this pasture as a rescue, rehabilitation effort.
O feel a need to offer a personal opinion on this situation. All would agree that these are thin horses. However, there is a dramatic difference between one who has allowed a healthy horse to become thin through neglect, and one who is trying to recover a thin horse back to health. This nutritional recovery process in Equines usually is a six month minimum project, if no set backs are encountered. The above situation is neither pristine nor perfect, but it is adequate.
Where do most people believe such nutritional rehab occurs? There is no dream barn and yard in Lexington, Kentucky that magically takes in and cares for horses rescued from dire circumstances.
Many folks desire that such rehab be available to needy horses, but they have no clue what is demanded either in terms of time, money, nor effort to obtain such. The overzealous media person with a microphone and a camera and a spin will do nothing but discourage those who are already involved. The unknowledgeable well intentioned citizen who reports such honest efforts like the above as abuse is not capable of such care. However, such accusations may well scare those who are capable away from their labor of love because of the potential for bad press and its repercussions. It is incumbent upon the powers-that-be to recognize these issues and distinguish wisely in the discharge on their duties. If folks like Mr. Price do not perform rehab on a grass roots effort it will not be done with any success.
These in brief are my findings and assessments. If any further explanation is required please contact me.
T. C. Hammond, DVM
<span style="font-weight:bold;">Next we have the AL code. Nothing in the Ag code applies but the rights to take and seize animals. But not when and why.
TITLE 3. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
3-1-8. Destruction of certain abandoned animals by members, etc., of societies for prevention of cruelty to animals
Any agent, officer or member of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may lawfully destroy or cause to be destroyed any animal found abandoned and not properly cared for which may appear, in the judgment of two reputable citizens called by him to view the same in his presence, to be superannuated, infirm, glandered, injured or diseased past recovery for any useful purpose.
3-1-10. Wanton, malicious, etc., destruction, injury, etc., of animal or article or commodity of value of another -- Prohibited
Any person, who unlawfully, wantonly or maliciously kills, disables, disfigures, destroys or injures any animal or article or commodity of value which is the property of another must, on conviction, be fined not less than twice the value of the injury or damage to the owner of the property nor more than $1,000.00 and may also be imprisoned in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than six months, and so much of the fine as may be necessary to repair the injury or loss shall go to the party injured.
3-1-11. Wanton, malicious, etc., destruction, injury, etc., of animal or article or commodity of value of another -- Proof of trespassing by animal in mitigation or justification of offense; tender of compensation
Upon the trial, the defendant may prove in mitigation or justification, as the jury may determine, that, at the time of the killing, disabling, disfiguring, destruction or injury, the animal killed, disabled, disfigured, destroyed or injured was trespassing and had within six months previously thereto trespassed upon a growing crop, inclosed by a lawful fence or while such animal was running at large in violation of law. No conviction must be had, if it is shown that, before the commencement of the prosecution, compensation for the injury was made or tendered to the owner.
3-1-11.1. Killing or disabling livestock; penalty
(a) Any person, who unlawfully, wantonly or maliciously, kills, disables, disfigures, destroys, or injures the livestock of another while said livestock is on the premises of the owner of said livestock or on the premises of a person having charge thereof shall be guilty of a Class "C" felony.
(b) In addition to being guilty of a Class "C" felony, any person who unlawfully, wantonly or maliciously, kills, disables, disfigures, destroys, or injures the livestock of another while such livestock is on the premises of the owner of the livestock, or on the premises of a person having charge thereof, shall be liable for damages sustained by the killing, disabling, disfiguring, or destroying of said livestock in an amount equal to double the value thereof.
(c) For purposes of this section, livestock is defined as horses, cows, swine, goats, sheep, mules, and asses.
3-1-13. Right of officers, etc., of humane societies to take charge of and care for neglected or abused animals; written notice to owner from whom animal taken; lien for expenses for care and keeping of animal
Any duly authorized officer or employee of a recognized humane society shall have the right to take charge of any animal which is sick or disabled due to neglect or is being cruelly treated or abused and to provide care for such animal until it is deemed to be in suitable condition to be returned to its owner or to the person from whose custody such animal was taken. The officer so taking such animal shall at the time of taking the animal give written notice to the owner or person from whose custody it was taken. The necessary expenses incurred for the care and keeping of the animal after such notice by the humane society shall be a lien thereon and, if the animal is not reclaimed within 10 days from the giving of such notice, the humane society may sell the animal to satisfy such lien. If the humane society determines that the animal cannot be sold, it may cause the animal to be otherwise disposed of.
3-1-16. Employment by county commissions of persons to enforce laws for prevention of cruelty to animals; compensation, oath and powers of same
The county commissions of the respective counties of this state may employ a suitable person or persons who shall be charged specially with the duty of enforcing all laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and to fix the compensation of such officer or officers, which shall be paid in the same manner as other salaries of county employees are paid, and such officer or officers, upon taking the oath as required to be taken by deputy sheriffs, shall be vested with all powers now vested by law in deputy sheriffs.
3-1-23. Burning, cauterizing, etc., of teeth of horse, mule, etc., for purpose of fraudulently making horse, etc., appear younger -- Prohibited
Any person burning, cauterizing or mechanically changing the natural appearance or condition of the teeth of any horse, mule or other soliped in order to fraudulently make such animal appear younger than the animal really is shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
3-1-24. Burning, cauterizing, etc., of teeth of horse, mule, etc., for purpose of fraudulently making horse, etc., appear younger -- Evidence as to burning, etc., of teeth to be substantiated by veterinarian
The evidence required for the conviction of any person for violating any provision of section 3-1-23 must be substantiated as to the burning, cauterizing or changing of the natural appearance or condition of the teeth of such horse, mule or other soliped by a graduate licensed veterinarian and, when necessary, the state veterinarian or a graduate veterinarian selected by the state veterinarian shall determine and testify to the changes that have been made in the teeth of such animal or animals.
3-1-25. Burning, cauterizing, etc., of teeth of horse, mule, etc., for purpose of fraudulently making horse, etc., appear younger -- Effect of possession of such horse, etc
The possession of any horse, mule or other soliped which has had its teeth burned, cauterized or mechanically changed in order to make such animal appear younger than it really is shall be prima facie evidence of intent to violate the provisions of section 3-1-23.
3-1-26. Burning, cauterizing, etc., of teeth of horse, mule, etc., for purpose of fraudulently making horse, etc., appear younger -- Transportation, etc., of such horse into state
Any person transporting or moving into Alabama, for any purpose whatsoever, any horse, mule or other soliped which has had its teeth burned, cauterized or changed in any manner to make such animal appear younger than it really is shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Lastly we have the actual cruelty statues. Please notice they are found in the CRIMINAL CODE. Not under animals and not under Ag and not under Morals. Its a CRIMINAL CODE and thus requires knowingly or recklessly committing the crime of neglect. This differs from any of the other states we have looked at.
And they did not give much guidance to know when you are neglecting an animal and when you are not. It a very bad law and the criminal standard is huge to overcome. What? They need feed every day? I didn't know that. Not guilty.
TITLE 13A. CRIMINAL CODE
CHAPTER 11. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER AND SAFETY
ARTICLE 1. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER AND DECENCY
13A-11-14. Cruelty to animals
(a) A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if, except as otherwise authorized by law, he intentionally or recklessly:
(1) Subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment; or
(2) Subjects any animal in his custody to cruel neglect; or
(3) Kills or injures without good cause any animal belonging to another.
(b) Cruelty to animals is a Class B misdemeanor.
Alabama needs to clean this mess up, get things defined, and find out what happened at the farm in question. But AL has not said one word about this case since the day after it hit the news. Nobody has.