Tennessee Shelter: Starving Horses

This last week started out with finding an awesome deal on some very heavy duty panels.  Our TN Shelter is still being set up, and really needed some heavy duty panels.  These 100+ lb panels were less than $90 each, and they are very strong.

The big task was moving them out of the pasture after they were purchased.  Jason started hauling them to the waiting trailer.

I was hauling them too, and boy were they heavy!  Especially since many of them filled up with water.

One by one they were loaded onto the trailer.  By the end there was a huge stack on the trailer, but I didn’t get a photo of it all loaded.

The lady we purchased the panels from was excited that they were going to Horse Plus and donated a bunch of blankets to our shelter.

Last year about this time we got reports of skinny horses and almost everywhere we drove there were horses with ribs visible.  That time of year has started again here in TN, and the phone calls are starting to pour in of reports of starving horses.  Kimberly and I headed out on one of those reports, where 3 skinny draft type horses are.  They were reported to us last year as well, but were not skinny enough to do anything.  This time, one of the horses was in really bad condition.

The spine and ribs are clearly visible.  It’s so sad to see!

So skinny!

The other horses are thin but no where near the condition of this skinny one.

I left a report hanging on the gate.  All 3 of these sweet horses looked over the gate as if saying  “Please help us!”

The owner called us up after business hours and left a harsh message.  Then he called about 25 times but hung up without leaving any messages.  I made a formal report with the Department of Agriculture and the Sheriff department.  They are now working with the owner and the horses now have a round bale of hay to eat.  I’m really hoping that these guys will start improving.

Chandler has been working on setting up the shelter.  He has been busy setting up the heavy duty panels in our quarantine area and also running a sturdy fence line.

On one of the holes he was digging, he found a huge root in the way.  Because of the type of fencing, there was no way he could move the post one way or another, so the root had to be cut.

This alleyway leads up to the barn where our padded squeeze chute is.

It’s looking really good and I’m thrilled with the progress.

We got a call about a wild mule that needed to be surrendered.  We were told it isn’t halter trained and it was going to be hard to get it loaded.  Jason, Darin and Chandler headed out to pick it up.  Thankfully, the owner had the mule in a round pen and was able to load her into the trailer.  He warned over and over that if anyone goes behind her, she will kick them.

With some gentle coaxing she hopped in the trailer.

Then she said goodbye to the home she has lived at since she was born 2 years ago.  A quick drive back to the shelter and she unloaded safely in the quarantine pen.

We got another report of a starving horse, we had actually seen this one last year too.  When we first went out to investigate this case, we found a very skinny horse.  The owner was very proactive in trying to rehab the horse and told us they had recently gotten him.  A few months later, doing a welfare check, we could see he was thin but improving.  To read the blogs from last year about this horse, click here.

Darin and Kimberly went to investigate the latest report of this horse.  Kimberly started documenting the horse’s condition for the road.

He’s lost all the weight he gained and is now emaciated again.

The other horses on the property have visible spines and ribs.  The owner came out and started yelling, screaming and cursing at Darin and Kimberly, upset to see us there and complaining that people were reporting her and trying to feed her horses and they didn’t know what they were talking about…

Action was taken, and 4 bales of round hay were put in the pasture and they purchased another 40 bales.  Darin went out and checked on them again, and they were all eating except the palomino was laying down.  We’re hoping he was just enjoying a belly full of food and resting.

In the evening Kimberly drove back by and the palomino was up and eating.  We do have a plan with the owner and if they don’t start gaining weight, we will taking our shelter vet out there to find out why.  I’m guessing with food they will start gaining weight.  It’s very frustrating in TN, these rural counties do not have animal control or animal welfare agencies.  So many people just let their horses go down in the winter as they know the grass will be growing in a few months and they will gain it back.  Another common problem we run into is people often believe all they have to give their horse is a scoop of grain a day and they’ll be fine.  They are actually confused why their horse loses weight on a scoop of grain a day.

Thank you all so much for your support, we couldn’t do the work we do without you.  Also, please remember our TN Walking Horse rescue fundraiser.  We have enough funds to rescue and care for 1, I know there are going to be many more, our goal is to save 50 from the slaughter pipeline, and we can’t do that without you.

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