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Preying on farmers

July 16, 2013 Letters to the Editor

After reading about abused horses, I visited the equine rescue property and asked the girls in charge what they were going to do with the horses and they said, “Sell them.” There must be a big profit in stealing horses and selling them.

This nonprofit group has been targeting local farm families at their most vulnerable time of the year for the rescue program’s fundraising purposes. They storm these families with no prior warning; arriving at farms with helicopter news teams and horse trailers in tow.

It is obvious they plan to seize horses prior to any physical examination and have made a deal with the news team. It is very expensive to fly from Allegheny County and they would not be there without knowing horses would be taken.

The owners are offered no assistance or warnings in advance of these visits. Their horses are simply seized with no information provided about the return process, grievance procedure or their destination. No health history is taken and no evaluation tools are used.

The rescue organization compounds the experience by going on their Facebook page and printing lies. In one case they printed, “We watched the farm for three days and the horses went without water ... we were going to storm the farm to carry them water.” What was intentionally not shared was the fact there are three spring-fed ponds in the pastures and the horses had access to water at all times. Even knowing this, they reported, “there was no apparent access to water.”

This organization seems to be about greed, not need. When, in the case of the Armstrong County horses they seized four months ago and the courts returned last week, the horses were returned in worse condition than when they were taken.

When an organization is bragging about taking 150 horses, we should not clap and say good job. We should ask what the heck is going on here? Surely all these farmers have not decided to starve their horses.

Ours is an agricultural community. We need to honor our local farmers, extend a helping hand when needed and treat them with respect.

There is nothing more beautiful than a pasture and beautiful horses, which I have seen many times at the one victim’s farm. She took such good care of her horses, she slept in the barn many times. It was devastating for her to lose them as part a fundraising strategy by a floundering organization.