75% of our horses have been rescued from premature disposal, were unmanageable by their previous owner, or needed basic care that their previous owners were unable to give them. We acquire them from families whose child is now going to college, or from people who are experiencing financial hardships and are unable to care for their horses. Some come to us through gifts, others find their way here through a good Samaritan spreading the word about a horse in need. We also find that many horses who are sold at livestock auctions are bought up by “kill-buyers” who buy them in bulk by the pound in order to ship them to the slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico. Many of these horses are young or middle-aged and able-bodied, with much life left in them, if only they would be given the chance. Here at Just Another Chance Ranch, we are in the business of giving equine and people alike just another chance at life. What will you do to make a difference? Will you shoulder with us today?
Help us rescue more horses. We must build a shelter in our second paddock in order to have the room to help more horses. Please consider donating hay, wood to build with, or funds to help us build. Thanks!
What do I do if I see a horse that looks like it is starving?
- Make sure you do not trespass or do anything that might be illegal or put you in danger. Stay on public roads, sidewalks, etc.
- Observe carefully, and document what you see. Write down specifics, such as the exact address where the horse is located and any notable landmarks nearby. What is the date? Is there any evidence of water or food being given the last couple days? What is the body condition of the horse you are concerned about (reference a body scale for horses and estimate a score)? Is the horse suffering right now? How long has the horse been in this pasture/barn? Talk to any neighbors that may be familiar with this horse and his/her history. It is possible that the current owner is trying to rehabilitate a horse they “saved” from a bad situation already, especially if the horse has not been there very long and arrived in poor condition. If you can tell, write down what the hooves look like. How many inches too long are they? How is the horse walking? Are they alert or lethargic? Are there other horses in the same paddock, and if so, how are they faring compared to the one? The more information you can provide the better.
- If you want to collect evidence through photography, check with your state’s laws to see whether this is allowed or not. Some states have “ag gag” laws-anti-whistleblower laws that make it illegal to record alleged animal cruelty during farming practices. Again, stay on public roads and don’t trespass. A clear pattern of neglect must be made before the law can step in, and this is hard to prove. Don’t feed or water neglected horses, because when the officer comes out to investigate, proving that the horse is neglected will be much harder.
- Most of the time, it is recommended that you do not approach the owner yourself. Report the information to the sheriff’s department, a local animal control group, or an equine rescue. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions. Maybe the owner is feeding the horse, and they are confused as to why the horse has suddenly dropped weight. This is a common problem when there are other health problems, such as sharp teeth that don’t properly chew the food, or a heavy parasite load inside the horse’s intestines. The horse can seem to eat just fine but continue to lose weight. Law enforcement will look into it when they are able to. Sometimes this takes time.
- Offer to help. Many times rescue groups are limited to the amount of animals they can help at any one time because of limited resources.
- If you are friends with the owner, and if it is appropriate, suggest maybe a good option for their horse would be to donate the horse to a local animal rescue group.
- If you feel that the horse is in immediate danger, is experiencing gross neglect, you can report it to the sheriff’s department. Explain why you feel the horse is in immediate danger, and ask to meet an officer on site. You can also call a horse rescue group who may also be able to meet you on site, however, horse rescue groups do not have the authority to gain warrants for removal of an animal. We can, however, provide key testimony as a witness to the condition of the horse in need of help.
For more information on how to help neglected, abused, or abandoned horses there are many great online sources.
HorseLaw website: http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/horselaw/neglect.htm