A veterinarian in Hoke Co, NC filed a report with police after euthanizing a horse, reportedly for malnutrition. The sheriff’s office obtained a warrant for the property, where a rescuer had been housing animals saved from pet killing facilities, and found approximately 120 animals, including horses, dogs, cats, goats and birds:
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said this is one of the worst cases he has seen in his 14 years as sheriff.
“It was sad to see those animals. It’s like they were happy to see us, the minute we opened the barn to let the horses out, they ran out and wanted to eat on the grass.”
Happy horses in a barn. Hmm. I am not a horse owner but that doesn’t sound particularly damning to me. I am guessing that most horses are probably happy to be let out of their shelter and like to run out and chomp-chomp on the grass. So how bad off were these 120 animals?
“There is no way she could not have seen what we saw. No way she couldn’t have known these animals were suffering and dying,” Peterkin said.
“Had we not gotten notification when we did, we would have a lot of dead animals.”
Wow. So these animals were literally on the brink of death. Gasping their last. Clinging to life. Skin stretched over their bones, presumably.
The dogs look ok to me, although a few are a wee bit chubby. But in keeping with the drama, the sheriff called in the ASPCA to take all the animals away. And to rag on the owner some more:
“I would say that she didn’t go to these shelters to intentionally bring them here and then intentionally neglect them. The intent to neglect them came in when she failed to provide the care that she knows that they needed,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of investigations with the ASPCA. “I think, possibly, she thought she was doing the right thing, but I have to believe that the reality is at some point she knows she’s not doing the right thing by these animals and that’s inexcusable.”
She has to believe that at some point there was wrongdoing. She just has to. Because otherwise that would mean there was no wrongdoing. And they just took someone’s animals away for no reason. Which would be – erm, inexcusable.
When deputies searched the property last week, Destreza said, they found animals had no food, no water and had received no veterinary care.
“To me, that’s a tragedy,” she said. “They should have been better off then they had been.”
They apparently had food and water. Let’s not pretend that the tubbos were starving to death. As for vet care, I can’t say. I don’t even see an elbow callous or long toenails, let alone anything that would be described as a tragedy. Now I will grant you 120 animals is an awful lot for one person to take care of, IF that was the case here, which I don’t know. Maybe she needed some help? Maybe placing some of the animals would have gotten her down to a number she was better able to care for? Maybe the ASPCA could provide some education on how to find permanent homes for pets so she doesn’t get overwhelmed in future? I guess that all sounds like work. And not at all sexy. Better to yell tragedy and worst I’ve ever seen and imminent mass death and get those photos for the fundraising emails and on to the next.
The rescuer has been charged with one felony count of animal cruelty and is due in court next on August 10. She has been ordered by the court to have no contact with the animals while the ASPCA finishes hauling them off.
I wish the Hoke Co pound would start doing its job and actually sheltering animals instead of killing them. Imagine how the community could work together to save animals if there was a true shelter in place. Rescuers could partner with the shelter instead of operating in crisis management mode year round. Law enforcement could shift their focus to other priorities, knowing the county’s lost and stray pets were safe. And the ASPCA could go home and stay there.