What happened the day of the seizure?
Early in the morning on the day of the seizure, a train of trailers met up at the staging area in Lane County, ready to go. After sheriff’s deputies served the warrant and secured the scene, trailers were sent to the scene one at a time. Try as we might, it’s not always possible to be emotionally prepared for what you see at cases like this.
Skeletal horses swayed in bare dirt paddocks, ribs visible, hip bones jutting out painfully, heads hanging low on thin necks, eyes dull. Many were in make-shift paddocks, contained only by strings of twine and PVC pipe, too weak and weary to push their way through to the grass growing just beyond their reach. Several stallions stood in the slime of their own waste, locked in stalls.
Some horses looked to have been fed recently, while others were starving and wasting away. Yet even the ones who appeared to be good weight seemed uncared for, their toes flattened in front of them, pasterns tipped down low. Some seemed feral, as if unhandled since birth.
If you’re a horse person, you know the light that normally shines in their eyes, the pride and the passion that runs innately through their veins. They are strong beyond compare and generous beyond measure. These horses had given it all up for humans, and this was their reward. They were withdrawn and demoralized, their pride crushed along with their bodies.
The task before us was daunting, but our mission held steady. As an organization, we exist for them.