Webinar presenter Audra Houghton answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Large Animal Cruelty Cases: Unique Considerations for Investigating Non-Companion Animal Neglect. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Chicago recently banned Carriage horse rides beginning in January of 2021. In your experience, what is the likelihood that those horses will be relinquished and that the city horse rescues or individuals will step up and take care of those horses and provide for them?
Audra Houghton: That’s a great question. You know, it really depends, whether or not their relinquished really depends upon the ordinances and the laws in that state. I’m not super familiar with Chicago’s ordinances, but I did see recently that that occurred. I’m very excited to see that. In the case that I had the owner just took a little bit of convincing and so once we got her, she voluntarily relinquished those animals. It is possible, but every case is an individual. Every case is different. I did find that I had a great response to reaching out to very reputable sanctuaries. Big thank you to Gentle Giants in Maryland because they really assisted us with that. I feel good about the fact that you know, those animals have worked hard for their whole life and that people want to be there for them. So, well, there are so many homeless and suffering animals in the country. It seems like when there’s a lot of attention on the case. It’s a good sign for them to get a positive outcome.
Audience Question: Audrey you talked about the typical kinds of neglect cases. Given the economic situation that a lot of folks are finding themselves in or going to be finding themselves in because of the COVID virus, what should we be doing proactively? Should agencies be braced for a potential increase in citizens needing help or relinquishing their animals? What can we do proactively? What are your thoughts on that?
Audra Houghton: That is definitely a huge concern right now. And you know, everything is so uncertain. We’re all worried about what the economy is going to look like and particularly people who own large animals because it is very expensive to feed them. So as an agency, as an organization, and if you have those animals in your jurisdiction that you’re concerned about, I would say start looking to get donations if you can. If you can consider a pet pantry type of service and also work with some of the national organizations. I know Diane, our disaster program manager, has been working a lot with other organizations to make sure that there are food banks and that there are food materials available when we can provide them. It is just going to be really difficult and time will tell how well we will weather the storm but it’s a difficult time for sure.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Large Animal Cruelty Cases.