Podcast You Will Like


Sharon Greenleaf La Pierre and Esplendor, as shown on the BBC website,

If you’ve ever listened to the BBC’s Outlook program, you already know about the fascinating stories featured in the first-person.  But even if you are new to the program, I encourage you to listen to this absolutely riveting tale involving a woman and two horses.  It is a heart-wrenching and brutally honest examination of the human-animal bond.  I happened to catch it on the radio this morning and when I heard it come on again this afternoon, I meant to change the channel but ended up being just as taken by the story the second time.  I don’t think you will be disappointed if you invest the 10 minutes in the podcast.

Alberta SPCA: Improving the Welfare of Horses through Death

Screengrab from the website of the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Screengrab from the website of the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In February, the Alberta SPCA seized 58 horses from a Canadian farm:

“In addition to suffering from long-term neglect, these horses were not used to being handled,” says Roland Lines, Communications Manager for the Alberta SPCA. “Only four geldings showed evidence of having been ridden, and a large number of the horses were extremely difficult and dangerous to contain and control during the initial seizure.”

Neglected horses were difficult to control when strangers came to put them in trailers and take them away from their home?  Gee, whodathunkit?  The SPCA killed 19 of the stallions after the 10 day holding period for “public safety” and another 5 for “medical reasons”.  Roland Lines, spokesman for the Alberta SPCA, “confirmed the animals were euthanized [in March] by drug, which he said was more humane than being shot.” Five horses were “rehomed”.  And then there were 29:

The numbers include 8 geldings, 8 mares (6 of which are pregnant) and 13 young stock.

Twenty-five of those horses were sold at public auction last week.  Although the SPCA had intended to send all 29 to auction, the group decided to hold 4 back to “get them healthy”. A licensed livestock dealer bought 16 of the horses and killed 3 to sell for meat because they were “too crippled”. I was unable to find any details on the other 9 horses bought at the auction.  Local horse lovers were not pleased:

“I think it’s horrendous that this is happening today, that we haven’t had an emergency adopt-a-thon of these horses,” complains horse enthusiast Keely Dobbyn. “I know lots of people that would go out and try and rescue these animals, and instead this is the easy way out.”

The Alberta SPCA posted a media release on its website in response to the public outrage.  In it, the organization blames the former owner (under whose care the horses were at least alive and there was hope for true rescue) and defends horse auctions as transparent.

“Yay transparency!” – No Dead Horse, ever.

I am including the end of the SPCA’s media release and would remind you as you read it that the the group’s spokesman said injection is a more humane method of killing than gunshot.  Horses who are sold for their meat can not be killed by injection.  If you want to read the gory details, try Google or check out the Wiki page on horse slaughter.  I would also remind you the SPCA killed 24 of the horses after their holding period expired and that 6 of the mares from the remaining 29 were pregnant.

The actions of the Alberta SPCA have improved the welfare of these horses. Their new owners, whatever their reasons for buying the horses, are required to protect them from distress and see to their needs for food, water, shelter and veterinary care.

How much food and water does a dead horse need?

Thanks for the horse care tips and best practices information, Alberta SPCA.

(Thank you Brandi for alerting me to this story.)

Stay Classy, Char-Meck

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg pound, the place that brought you such classics as The Drugged Kitty Photo-Fest and Oops – We Killed A(nother) Pet, brings you this posting on Facebook.  Read it and weep.

Facebook post from CMPD ACC on June 27, 2012.

Yup. It’s a promo for a stray horse they named MEATY. They are auctioning him. Aren’t these folks just fall down funny?

Friday Reading

Toledo Humane Society says they don’t have the resources to remove starving horses from the owner.  I did a quick Google and found:

The HSUS Animal Rescue teams are ready at a moment’s notice to rescue horses from poor living conditions[…]

Now we just have to get these two lovebirds together.

In the meantime, I’m assuming Toledo HS has the resources to feed and vet the horses, at least?


This post asks “Are surrender fees the answer?” and mentions a Missouri municipal shelter that recently instituted a $20 surrender fee.  Amazingly, this shelter does not do adoptions so the $20 is funding the killing of pets not lucky enough to be saved by a rescue group.  The comments are interesting to read as well, including one from someone who describes him/herself as a former shelter director who advertised no surrender fees to encourage people not to abandon their pets in the community:

But, once someone came in with their pet, they were required to fill out forms, then sit through my “lectures” about the fate of shelter pets, and our expenses. I flat out told them that “Fluffy” would die if they did not help us out with a donation.

Read the entire comment for context.


This opinion piece from a former ACO in Indiana makes some good points regarding saving more of the community’s pets but near the end, suggests that advertising free pets in any newspaper should be made a punishable offense under the law.  I’m not sure how that would help save pets.  It is the appropriate screening of buyers that is key, not the amount charged for the pet to my mind.  It is a mistake to assume that people who do not intend to take good care of a pet are the only ones looking for free pets.  In fact, sometimes such folks are willing to pay any price.  (Does the name Michael Vick ring a bell?)


Finally, I’ve been meaning to mention that the No Kill Nation is building a website.  For now, you can sign up for their newsletter.  I look forward to seeing the rest of the site when finished.

21 Polo Horses Die before Match

The polo team favored to win the U.S. Open tournament in Florida had 21 of its horses die suddenly on Sunday. The team has now withdrawn from competition and an investigation into the horses’ deaths is underway:

Officials believe that the “very rapid onset of sickness and death” points to toxins or a drug reaction and also allows them to rule out other possibilities.

“At this time, there is no evidence that these horses were affected with an infectious or contagious disease, as there are no other horses affected at this time,” according to Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services spokesman Terence McElroy.

Officials are continuing to conduct tests, and Florida agriculture scientists are performing necropsies on the animals.

Pending test results, there is some speculation as to foul play:

Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian at the New York Racing Association and a 19-year veterinarian, said Monday that she suspected a tainted substance was injected into the horses.

“[It was] something that was administered for it to work in a short amount of time and have an animal succumb that quickly,” Kunz said. “My thought is that something was injected, because it would have to affect the central nervous system.”


Anabolic steroids are not likely to have caused the deaths, either, Kunz said.

“It takes at least five days for [anabolic steroids] to really work, and the effects aren’t real obvious at first,” she said. “Most of the time, [anabolic steroids] are used to build up their muscularity.”

UPDATE, 4-23: Pharmaceutical error apparently caused the death of the horses