Friday, April 2, 2010

Rescue Guidlines

Grey Percheron

by BrownEyed Cowgirls
Here is my issue with rescues...

Especially when they take on horses like Herc...

This is a horse that probably is (according to the comments made about him and repeated here) a dangerous horse. Yes, he can be nice. But then he flips. Those are the kind of horses that will hurt someone, long before something that acts poorly all of the time.

If rescues truely want to show people the kind of responsibility they are 'supposed' to have, then they need to start making a lot tougher decisions about the horses they rescue.

The fugly commentor mantra is breeding regulations. Okay, so if breeders need to be regulated, then rescues need to be regulated too.

No more emotional drama surrounding 'saving' this horse or that horse.

Rescues are welcome to take in or 'save' any horse they chose, but...

If they rescue a horse that ends up being permanently crippled and must be euthanized irregardless of how young or old it is. Twelve months is plenty of time to determine whether a horse is ever going to be sound or not. Hey, if we want to be kind, we can give them an additional 12 months to try to adopt the horse out. Failing that...buu-bye.

Horses over a certain age, say 20 or 22, and have been starved and/or require more than basic medical attention and/or are probably permanently crippled...must be euthanized immediately.

Any horse rescued over the age of 3 must go into training-within 6 months if they are sound or at the end of 12 months if they are not sound at the time of rescue.

Any horse deemed dangerous or unrideable must be euthanized. I would say that giving the horse 6 months to perhaps adjust to better treatment, but then they must go into training from 6-12 months. At the end of 12 months and they are not better..buuu-bye.

And for god's sakes...Stop with the heroic efforts...begging for money for broken legs, massive injury or stupidly expensive surgeries? Enough already! That money is better spent on actually saving something that has a more probable future.

Here is the way I look at it, Herc's owner never should have been 'outed'. She did not do anything illegal. The horse was not starved and it was obvious an attempt had been made to correct his lameness issue. The owner tried to sell him, tried to give him to a rescue and obviously did not feel the need to lay the horse to rest on her property. She is NOT the one who labeled the horse 'kill only'. His buyer did. Of course, fugs came up with the ridiculous assertation that the whole reason Herc was mean was because he had had a shock collar used on him. Pulled that one right out of her ass, I'd bet money on it.

Irregardless, the horse was purchased by a rescue and they didn't even have $500 to have a few x-rays run on him and they have been begging for money for the damn horse every since? How are they any more responsible than the previous owner? Now they want to farm him out?


How about they start showing some responsibility here and just put the horse down?

He's mean, he's lame and now they want to pawn him off on some poor sob to take care of for the next decade or so?

Nope-they 'rescued' him. They need to be responsible for their decision. He is not a suitable horse for the average owner and trying to place him is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

APRIL 2, 2010 9:41 AM


  1. Anonymous said...
    BEC, bravo to your post. Very well said. I couldn't agree more. Ahhh but the saving of the horse accomplishes several things:

    The saviors get all the kudos and praise and pats on the back by other emotionally charged but lacking common sense people. The saviors thrive off that emotionally and they get a "wonderful" reputation for "saving" the horse.

    The saviors then rake in the money and 99% of the time do NOT show proof the money they collected was actually spent on that horse. They lie about how much they take in many times. So, they get praise and extra cash which may or may not (in several cases in the past) spend the money on that horse.

    They then "farm" the horse out as you say, walking away from any responsibility for that horse except to have the right to re-home the horse if the foster family can not or will not keep the horse any longer. They then get kudos for "doing the right thing" by the horse by finding him a new sucker to pay all his bills, just like the original foster family did. Oh yes, they can adopt out the horse for a fee, keeping the money while the foster family has already eaten all of the bills of said horse. The foster pays for the care/upkeep while the "rescue" gets the cash when the horse is adopted out.

    Quite a little racket if you ask me. I won't donate one red cent to any rescue, knowing what I know about how MOST of them operate. They can kiss my behind.

  2. Kaede said...
    I wonder if one reason for all the rescues is people are not looking at horses as livestock but as very large companion animals.
    I see horses as livestock. If anyone wants to rescue a horse, they must be prepared to foot the entire bill. I believe in putting horses down. I don't believe in horse's "deserving" retirement. The horse isn't sitting around recounting it's former days of glory with other horses. Horse don't plan for the future or recount the past. You can train responses but that is not the same as planning for the future or remembering the past. If houses could really "connect the dots" how many of them would let a human get on one more than once?
    I agree wholeheartedly with BEC. Lets stop the rescue drama and start putting horses down. a $3000.00 sound, sane, rideable horse vs a "free" rescue horse with an adoption fee of $1000.00 and $3000.00 worth of vet bills and $$1500.00 worth of groceries and hoof care,and maybe additional money in training.
    Which horse is going to be more useful to the average rider? Not a competition rider, or a rider with gobs of experience but the average rider who has maybe 1 year of lessons and wants to ride in the fields and trails and maybe a few gymkhanas with their buddies? I know which one I would chose and which one I would recommend choosing: the $3000.00 horse.

  3. My feelings about rescues keeping non-riding horses is that the reason for their status is usually lameness. This means pain. I believe that horses in untreatable pain should be euthenized.

  4. I have done rescue for a while, and have been invited to sit on the board of a rescue organization. That being said, I wouldn't necessarily adopt an animal from the majority of rescue organizations. All too often, the people who are drawn to rescue have ... unique perspectives on animals and the 'proper' home for them. I don't agree with a lot of the underlying rescue philosophy nor the rigid rules they impose on their adopters. I mean, even when I was fostering I wasn't necessarily able to keep animals the way we told people they should be kept. (I was a grad student and didn't have 3 months buffer of savings for veterinary expenses, etc.)

    The group I'm working with now has a much more practical viewpoint and is more flexible with adopters and animal care. But, still, I've found that a lot of folks who are formally associated with rescue have a very DO WHAT I SAY attitude, that can be off putting.

  5. The trainer I ride with has thought about getting a rescue saddlebred, but all restrictions were daunting. I do understand why the rescue want the restrictions, but.... I'd rather look around and find a horse in need then put up with getting permission every time we want to take a horse off the property or the property must be open to inspection 24/7.

  6. What about horse sanctuaries, that don't adopt out horses at all, but are, in effect, retirement homes for horses? I'm all for a group that wants to give old critters (dog, cat, horse) a happy retirement, but I'm not so happy about those groups having tax-exempt status. I feel like what they're doing is enabling owners to walk away from an older pet without feeling guilty, and not providing what I would consider a benefit to society in general.

  7. Darcy Jayne, one common problem with dog programs is that people confuse their goals. They need to ask themselves what are they really trying to accomplish?

    For instance, low cost spay/neuter programs. People get hung up on verifying that the grants are made to people who "really" need it but if their goal is to get dogs spay/neutered, then there shouldn't even *be* income guidelines or verification, etc.

    If they want to verify income, need, etc, then their goal is human behaviour modification using dog spay/neuter as the excuse. That's fine but then don't go trying to raise money by advertising the program as being about dog spay/neuter, because it isn't.

    In the case of retirement homes for older animals, is their goal to help geriatric animals? Then they should help geriatric animals, even if it means allowing people to walk away from their responsibilities.

    If they only accept geriatric animals from cases of "real" need, then they'd better not advertise themselves as being for geriatric animals, because what they're really doing is judging human behaviour.

    In other words, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

  8. GD, we just went through the low cost spaying thing with a feral cat dumped on the barn owner.
    The low cost spay/neuter place has three price points. $60 for spay/neuter any cat. $20 for spay/neuter any cat if you can prove you get TANF. Free if the cat is feral or in heat.
    Well, was the dumped cat feral or did the barn owner own the cat? Barn owner was trying to do the right thing by getting the cat spayed and vaccinated. But his pockets aren't bottomless and lots of cats (all ages too)get dumped in the spring and summer. So should Barn Owner just call animal control and have monthly "sweeps" to get rid of all the dumped cats or should he get free spay/neuter vaccinations for the feral cats or should he pay?

  9. Kaede, the records show that the most effective spay/neuter programs, the ones that have a demonstrable effect on the population of unwanted or feral animals, are those with no income standards or verification of need for the owners.

    I happen to know a bit about this because several years ago I served on the committee for my local humane society (NOT affiliated with HSUS!) that set the standards for their spay/neuter program. After looking at the evidence we could find, we decided to make it simple: local vets, pet food outlets, groomers and the local municipal shelter were all provided with forms to apply for spay/neuter grants, to be given out to anyone who asked for them. There was a space on the form that said we could make a grant of up to $75/cat and we asked them how large a grant they wanted. Anyone who turned in a form got the grant they asked for.

    The results? After five years, the local municipal shelter had a four month period where they had no kittens at all. The overall number of cats seen at that shelter has dropped to less than a tenth what it was before the spay/neuter program (from a high of over 2500/year to the current low of less than 150/year).

    So I would say that, for purposes of our program, the barn owner would be the cat's owner and should be given whatever size grant he wanted (the $75 limit covers all but bilateral cryptorchids, which sometimes runs up to $125).

    What boggles my mind is that even though that program has demonstrated a *stellar* success rate, one of the biggest stumbling blocks when fundraising is the lack of income standards or needs verification. People get all freaked out at the thought that we just give applicants what they want.

    Hellooooooo, we didn't start this in order to be social workers. We wanted to reduce the number of cats being brought to the municipal shelter. We succeeded way beyond our wildest pie in the sky dreams and yet people are still hung up on the idea that it would be a bad thing if some hypothetical person they deem not worthy were to get a grant.

  10. AMEN! Herc should be put down. He is dangerous, crippled and his place should be taken by a younger, sound, useful horse. If there were a retirement type home available for him, it would have shown up already. Its not like he worked 40-50 hours a week and wants to move to Florida and visit with the grand kids. He is a HORSE. Even as a competing eventer he spent at LEAST 20 hours a day doing nothing, and more like 22-23 on average I am sure. Why should he deserve a "retirement"? I just don't understand these rescue nuts insisting it.

  11. AMEN!!! I have never understood the policy of dragging horses off the truck that are old, crippled, dangerous to be "rescued" when a nice, well bred, sound, healthy, young prospect goes in it's place. Talk about giving the meat buyers exactly what they want!! They don't want the old crippled up yucky horses. They make more money off the young, supple, tender young ones that have way more meat on their bones(most of the time). Plus it's a whole lot easier to get the healthy ones through the long trailer rides required to get to a slaughter house or feedlot. I just KNOW that the meat men see the "rescue" people coming and start rubbing their hands with glee. They can drive up the price of the "heart string" cases and keep the ones they really need to make their profit on a truckload. Not rocket science.

    I too, think that if an animal is not sound, sane and productive, it should be put down. I don't care which method is used, be it by a bullet, captive bolt or the juice. Dead is dead. There are not enough homes available for horses that can't be owned by the general public. It's hard enough to find homes for the good ones. I can't understand resources being sucked up by the unproductive cast offs. They are cast off for a reason. A lot of horses are on the truck for a reason, be it lack of training, being ruined by poor or little training, poor care, poor breeding practices, or just plain poor-as in their owners can't provide the financial means to support their care any longer.

    I am so sick of rescues and the rescue mentality. At the most recent Horse Fair I had to stifle the urge to walk over to the HSUS booth and tell them really loudly just what I thought of their practices and organization. I also had that urge at the Horse Illustrated booth.

    Speaking of, I just picked up the most recent copy of HI and there's a 2 page article written by none other than the Twuntwaffle herself. The topic??? To Breed or Not to Breed. Yeah, because she's the authority on THAT!! I really can't believe that HI has her write anything for them. Are they crazy?? Do they want their readership to disentegrate to nothing? I would never let my friends, relatives, children read that magazine, now that she is writing articles for them.. AACK!! For Christsakes the woman put out a Kentucky Headhunt on a 20yr old girl because she entered the wrong class at a SCHOOLING show. Do the people on staff at the magazine even read her blog? Are they blind? Stupid?

    I'll be writing the editorial section to let them know the exent of their bad judgement in hiring her to be involved in their publication in any way, shape or form. I plan to make a pest of myself. LOL!!

  12. roses,
    If you can manage it, please post Fubbly's article here so we don't have to buy it.

  13. GD,
    A town in B.C. had a mandatory spay/neuter policy and their shelter occupancy went down to almost nothing. I would think that giving out spay/neuter grants is much less costly than maintaining a large facility to warehouse hundreds of animals.

  14. Herc. Ride him Fugly.

  15. Where I'm living right now, there seems to be no low-cost or free spay/neuter program for feral cats. Our barn cats are feral. One of them happens to be spayed (long story, but the deed is done). The two males were not.

    I called around to see how cheaply I could get it done because although we're not on public assistance or anything, these are BARN CATS who are FERAL. We do feed them, but they are not cuddly snookums who are easy to catch and who won't potentially get eaten by a coyote or a hawk, run over by a car, etc.

    The cheapest I could find was $50 but of course I had to pay $30 for rabies, $20 for Frontline for cats because the cat had fleas, and $70 more for overnight boarding, other vaccines (they insisted) and other sundries. The grand total was $180.

    And before we left they tried to sell me a six-month supply of Frontline for this cat. I said "This is a feral barn cat who on good days will let me catch him, but seriously, I'm not spending that money on flea prevention. I see no need to do so." The woman pursed her lips and shook her head ominously and said "Fleas cause DISEASE, you know." I said, "Yep, I do know, but this is a BARN CAT. Most people don't even bother to vaccinate their barn cats."

    I got that one male neutered, but to be honest, it's going to be a while before male #2 gets his improvement surgery, and believe me, I'm going to catch him and put a breakable flea collar on him if only to save $20 for the Frontline.

    I told the vet's office that the cat was feral, and I asked if they could give me any kind of break on anything since these were cats that would be contributing to the local feral cat population but I was trying to do the right thing. The short answer was hell no.

    I know vets need to make a living, and I feel particularly sorry for large animal vets who really do struggle to make ends meet. But I have a lot less sympathy for small animal vets who upcharge for every little thing and who try to guilt you into spending umpteen bucks for services that you will not need for a feral animal. Small animal vets need to wrap their heads around the fact that there is a growing feral cat population that needs controlling and act accordingly.

    The final indignity as far as I was concerned was that the vet techs told me that I would have to keep this feral male cat locked up for 10 days while his wound healed. And they intoned "NO LICKING" and insisted we buy a cone. The cat escaped the first day, but luckily he was woozy enough that my husband caught him and sustained only minor injuries trying to get the animal back into the cage. We gave up after two days. Seriously, 10 days? I told them the cat was feral. And forget trying to get that cone on the cat. Unless you wanted to lose a limb, it was better just to let him lick a little. Interestingly, his wound looked horrible after two days in the cage and wonderful after a mere day outside of the cage--probably because all he did all day while locked in the cage was lick the wound. Ha.

  16. Hi

    I agree with you all regarding the rescue mentality. I could never--and still can't- understand why on earth someone would go to an auction and "rescue" some poor old wreck when so many younger sound horses with potential go on the truck. I mean seriously wtf? All those thousands of dollars wasted on a horse who will never be sound. There are very few homes for companion only animals, and since one of the first things I learned was "it costs as much to keep a poor horse as a good horse", why wouldn't you keep a sound horse as a companion?
    Things that make you shake your head.
    I can't seem to post except as anon, but I'm Nin.

  17. RE Anon April 2, 2010 10:18 PM

    I spent some time on the SCR Website and Equibase comparing dates and it seems like they have no new horses and dont adopt very many out, they farm them out to "Foster" homes. She needs to do something w/ the 40 something she keeps saying she is supporting and I agree put Herc down.

    On another note Fubb is bitching about grooming again (like she grooms hers w/ on a plane all the time) and I did snort my coffee when she talked about mane pulling! She admits she doesn't know how and showed proof on the BYC's blog w/ a picture of his sad mane. I think Ive gone past the anger reaction now when she is stupid and just laugh that anyone can take her serious.

  18. Srsly, FHOTD doesn't know how to pull a mane? I learned when I was 13 and it took all of about ten minutes to learn how to do it from one of the other teenagers at the barn. I wouldn't know what on earth to do with the flowing locks on some of the gorgeous drafties bhm keeps providing as eye candy here but a pulled mane is simple.

    I use FHOTD to refer to her for two reasons. One, I don't call names (that would be stooping to her level). Two, it's short and it's a combo that someone searching for her on Google might use.

  19. On the topic of spay/neuter: I know this will sound awful to some folks, but it made a huge difference in a handful of small communities.

    My aunt lived most of her adult life in small, generally poor, farming communities in southern California. She also had been most of the way through veterinary school before she got married. Her husband was a neanderthal type who wouldn't let her work, but she didn't let that stop her from providing a public service for her communities, most of which had a large population of feral and stray critters.

    She started doing kitchen-table neutering of any intact male cat brought to her (and maybe some dogs, I don't know). She charged nothing, although grateful neighbors would often bring food in payment.

    By the standards of folks who can afford better, it was brutal. No anesthetics, a quick cut with a sterile razor blade, remove the bits, disinfect the area, then let the critter go. No "after care", no flea control, no shots.

    I witnessed a couple of those neuterings, and can honestly say that aside from some howling as the procedure was done and some dirty looks after, the cats were fine. My aunt's assistants sometimes were the bit worse for wear, though.

    And with fewer kittens being added, the cat population anywhere she lived would steadily drop to manageable levels. And there would be a remarkable number of neutered male cats running about.

  20. For long think mane you need to oil and sulphur the skin at the base of the hair. Oil the hair and braid loosely or roll. Fugs went after a woman selling bags to put the braids in. This is a very good idea as it keep the braids from coming undone.

  21. A great detangler for long manes is get the mane and tail condition, and apple cider vinegar. Get a sterile squeeze bottle, put in the conditioner and cut it with the apple cider vinegar, shake well and make sure it comes out in a fine spray and spray the mane. Let it set and brush it out. Great fly control and it smells so good with the conditioner to cut that vinegar smell away. LoL!

    DJ, God bless your aunt, I think she did a very great thing!


  22. So you think rescues should be REQUIRED to adhere to certain guidelines?

    You know, I agree with you on a lot of points. I do not like to see rescues supporting a bunch of horses that are not suitable to be adopted out when others that could be rehabbed need help.

    I can decide where to donate money, which is rescues that operate in a way that I can support.

    I am not sure I can equate a rescue's choice in horses they choose to rescue with irresponsible breeding. I also cannot condemn a rescue for wanting to help a horse, and asking for donations. Nobody has to donate. As long as the horses in their care receive good basic care, they are not misappropriating funds, who has any right to say that they shouldn't rescue certain horses, or that other people shouldn't donate, or that they should put down horses in their care? Lots of people give a whole lot of money to the Catholic Church, and I sure don't support them, but other people do.

  23. Fugs does not know how to pull mane. That is quite obvious. Fugs also knows nothing about breeding horses. That is quite obvious.

  24. "As long as the horses in their care receive good basic care, they are not misappropriating funds......."

    The problem, more often than not, is that "rescues" go ahead and use their hearts, not their heads, when rescuing a horse. Most of the rescues I have observed over the years do this without having a dime to support their efforts. They rely solely on the good hearts of others to fund their efforts. How many rescues have you seen begging for money for hay? How many beg for money for trims? How many beg for money when one of their horses gets hurt or sick and they can't pay a vet bill?

    If all the rescues that are stumping for cash on all the "rescue" boards had funds available to them BEFORE they go out and rescue a horse, they wouldn't need to beg for donations so often and for everything under the sun.

    I've seen them beg for security systems, stall panels, some have even asked for money to buy land, build barns, etc.

    No, I can choose not to donate a dime to any of them. I can also express my own personal opinion about how they operate hoping that maybe that good hearted soul will think twice about donating to them when they are asking for things for their horses that they should have had all along; i.e., hay, money for trims, stall panels, etc.

    People here are only expressing their opinion about the condition of the horses being rescued, as is their right. They are not telling anyone NOT to donate to rescues at all.

    Donate where you feel most comfortable donating. I just hope you use your head and question the things for which they are asking for your hard earned dollars, if you feel the need for clarification. The rest of us will do the same.

  25. I have a hard time listening to somebody who does not know irregardless isn't a word. It's regardless. How educated do you need to be to know that? I couldn't even finish reading the entry after realizing it was coming from such an uneducated person, regardless of the (few) valid points made. I can certainly ascertain (not assertain, what's that? Being an entertaining ass?) this entry was made out of self-loathing. BTW, my personal rescue was 20 years old and 400lbs. underweight when I found him. There was no reason to euthanize him whatsoever as he is now a wonderful, healthy horse with plenty of riding years left.

  26. Anon at 3:58 I have a comment and a question:
    Irregardless is a word, it is a word that is recognized by the OED and Merriam-Webster on line dictionary, it is considered to be nonstandard, first recorded in the OED in 1912, but it is a word. alot is non standard too, as is my beloved Y'all, right good and go to the bad. I'd be a social pariah in my community if I corrected/didn't listen to all the faculty who used nonstandard/dialectical English.
    If you didn't finish reading the essay, how do you know how it ended? BEC could have had a change in heart in the last paragraph?
    I'm glad you saved an old horse at your own (I hope)expense. Enjoy him. How many young/sound/sane horses did you send to slaughter by saving that one?

  27. Anon 3:58: good for you that you rescued and brought back to soundness your own horse. The post is questioning the choices of public rescues that pick up horses that are going to take up a lot of resources and possibly never be sound.

    As for the rest: I make my living writing, so words matter to me, too. However, I have the ability to read past occasional errors for the sense of a thing. Is your issue that you lack that ability, is it that you're too lazy to extrapolate meaning in the face of minor errors, or is it that you've yet to realize that book learning and intelligence aren't the same thing?

  28. As always with the fuglites, when they cannot dispute the validity of an arguement, they resort to personal attacks. Over ONE spelling error? Really?

    To the other anon who asked if I believed that rescues should be REQUIRED to follow guidelines?

    Yes, I do. Quality of life is not guaranteed at birth. At the very least, it needs to be quantified in the end. Humanizing lame, ill or old and unhealthy horses does not benefit 'The Horse'. They have no concept of the future or how many more years they may or not have. They only know if they are comfortable or not comfortable.

    I also have issues with the mass production that was taking place on the breeding end of the equine realm, but that is a whole 'nuther rant.;)

  29. Anonymous said...

    So you think rescues should be REQUIRED to adhere to certain guidelines?...

    That post just sounds like FHOtD wrote it. The entire libertarian tone added with the slap at Catholicism... Just sounds like her writing. The how dare you tell me what to do tone...

    Well, isn't FHOtD telling us what to do at the beginning? There should be REQUIRED guideline for being allowed to breed, the Europeans do it much better then we do because they have strict guidelines.

    (Show me the evidence please. Don't point out breed registries, and the KEUR process, we have similar thing over here. It's the breeders of unregistered horses I want to know about. Apples to apples please.

    Also you have to compare some place as roomy as the USA. All of GB is about the same size (in sq miles) as the area destroyed by Katrina.

    Land might be a little more expensive in Europe which would keep the BYB down in numbers. How many BYB do we actually have on Long Island? I'm sure there are a few, but that is the point, there are only a FEW.

    As for rescuers, well maybe they should have their faces shoved in the fact that for every broken down, ill tempered, underweight, untrained horse they "save" a young horse with good training, breeding, etc is going to slaughter. As I aside a few weeks ago I went to the local spring sale of QH and saw wonderful horses going for under $1000.00. That Zips Chocolate Chips mare haunts me. I've never sat in a stock saddle in my life, I've never ridden a reiner, I could learn. After watching her, I don't know if I wouldn't get motion sick though. Man she could spin.

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