Friday, April 25, 2008

Call...or wait? Or?

Way back before Thanksgiving a horse died. It died out in a pasture near a road I commute daily. It was one of a herd about about five other not-so-healthy looking equines.

For about two weeks it laid out there, the gray body visibly bloating and changing as it decomposed. And the rest of the herd remained in the pasture with their fallen herd mate. Gross eh?

Finally the owners covered the body with a tarp. But it continued to lay out there, rotting. Every day I looked to see if it was still there, wondering if there was something I could do, someone I could call to get them to dispose of that poor beast properly. I'm pretty sure "improper disposal of a livestock carcass" is a crime.

Fast forward many months. Up until a week ago the tarp-covered corpse was still there. I noticed yesterday (April 24) that the corpse was finally gone. I guess with the warm weather and the wet it started smelling pretty awful. You know how bad a mouse smells when it dies in your walls? Imagine about 1,000 pounds of rotting flesh, in the heat.

So, it makes me wonder. How can you leave a horse dead out there in the field, with the other horses, and not do anything about it? I wouldn't be able to walk out to feed the other beasts and look at that body for more than six months and be okay with it.

I've lost two horses over the past six years and with each awful loss, the bodies were gone within two days. It's not that hard to do and it's not expensive. Fifty bucks and the rendering company will come out and pick up the body and dispose of it. In my opinion if you don't have an extra $50 or $60 to handle the emergencies that always come up when you have horses, you shouldn't have horses. They are a luxury, not a necessity.

Which leads me to this question: When do you get involved in a situation where you think horses are being neglected? Our neighbors have three horses, all in very poor body condition (ribs, hip bones and spines visible), and they just acquired two more. Are they starving to death? No. Are they much, much thinner than a healthy horse should be? Yes.

And they now have five horses when they could barely properly care for three. Would you make an anonymous call to the humane society? Would you say something to your neighbor? Would you just turn a blind eye for now and just keep a close eye on the horses to watch for more weight loss/neglect?

I guess I should also mention I've already made one complaint call to the county about them. Their property was an absolute disaster. A mess. Garbage and junk EVERYWHERE. It was disgusting and a clear violation of county ordinances. The county came out and warned them to get it cleaned up in a month or face a $500 fine for each day they continued to violate. They have cleaned it up, somewhat, but I feel better knowing the county is now keeping an eye on their nasty property.

I'm pretty sure they know someone called the county on them. I'm not so sure they know it was me. I am, however, a little worried that if I make yet another complaint, they will figure it out and may make our lives miserable.

Suggestions? Ideas?


amy said...

Well, with the hay situation your area is having, maybe just approach as the friendly neighbor (are you on casual speaking terms?) and start talking about how hard it is to find good hay at a reasonable price, and tell them where you got yours 'cause you noticed they were looking hungry (the horses!), or something.
You do have to live there for a long time, and maybe they are just uneducated about how much a horse needs to eat. Be the better neighbor! Don't make damaging conclusions that could just be misunderstandings, like some neighbors do!

P.S. T just caught a blue-bellied California lizard in the rocks! He's so excited :)

Marriage-101 said...

Hmmm...this is difficult. It reminds me of the time my neighbor's dog kept barking FOR A YEAR at all random hours of the day. We asked them to do something about it once when they happened to be outside at 6am on a Saturday and the dog was barking. After that, I finally contacted the police who sent me to animal control who came out and gave them a warning. They had a muzzle put on the dog and though I felt sorry for it, I do sleep much better now. Do they know it was us? Probably, but they didn't retaliate.

So that was a round about way of saying I don't really know. If I'm not on speaking terms with the neighbor, I'm more inclined to make an anonymous phone call. If it were any of my other neighbors that I'm actually pretty good friends with, I would just tell them I think their pets look a little thin and hungry. What I would worry about is, what if you say something to them, and they do nothing, then what? Do you make the phone call then and have them REALLY know it was you? Let us know what you decide.

Anonymous said...


I watch Animal Cops often and it's people who call that save animal lives.

Do it tomorrow.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I'd definitely make the call.

Jim Thomsen said...

I agree. I guess I'm not clear on why you think you'll be found out as the source of the complaint. Seems to me that any number of people who pass by on that road could make the same report.

I guess if you feel hesitant, then call. Insist on anonymity. Withhold details until you're assured that it's been assured.

Sona said...

If they allowed a dead horse to rot in the same field as the other horses, that's abuse and those animals should be removed.

Let us know, ok?

MP said...

I think the idea of a "hint" in casual conversation..but if that didn't work and you did call, they would know it was you..awkward..
So I think I would just call..I think I would sleep better.