Animal cruelty cases go beyond companion animals like dogs and cats, it also includes farm and wild animals. There are millions of horses all over the United States, even more impressive is the hundred-billion dollar Equine industry. Given its sheer number, it is only fitting to make sure that they’re given the care they need and protection under law.
Back on Justice Clearinghouse to unpack equine husbandry standards is Diane Robinson. She is working for the Humane Society of the United States as the Disaster Services Program Manager. Her passion for animals and search and rescue enabled her to develop a training guide and curriculum as well as train animal welfare and emergency staff on basic animal emergency services and disaster sheltering.
Some of the points discussed in this session are:
- The typical calls responders get related to horses and the importance of following up on each.
- Clarifying basic equine identification based on types and gender.
- The characteristics of a healthy horse compared to an unhealthy one.
- A backgrounder on animal cruelty – what it is and defining intentional cruelty versus unintentional neglect.
- Why some agencies/responders do not treat animal cruelty cases as important and urgent.
- The concept of The Link
- Understanding and recognizing the link of animal crimes to violence and other criminal activities.
- How addressing animal cruelty is a preventive measure that averts future offense of violent crimes.
- Statistics that show the other types of offenses those who committed animal abuse are involved in.
- The pieces of legislation put into place at both the federal and state level to address animal cruelty.
- How it is broken down based on the gravity of the offense.
- Factors taken into account in legislation as the definition and classification of the animals and the specific protection provided.
- Taking advantage of the vagueness of the law allowing flexibility to develop a case.
- A drill-down of equine standards of care.
- The variability of what comprises adequate shelter based on applicable laws.
- Specifics on the type and amount of food and water required for each horse.
- The basic veterinary care required including regular deworming and vaccination.
- The different dental issues found in animal cruelty issues, and common signs of potential dental problems.
- The different hoof ailments that horses suffer from with its descriptions and causes.
- Understanding the body scoring scale to gauge a horse’s health
- Visual aids as photos and diagrams were provided to illustrate the standards and provide examples of inadequate care and common health problems in horses.
- Questions raised during the Q&A were on:
- A resource for standards of animal husbandry care.
- Ensuring adequate freshwater for horses in the colder months.
- Exercising animals to prevent gaining too much weight.
- Options and preferences on horse shelter.
- Required vaccinations for horses.
- Whether horse guardians should have trailers.
- Conditions that require horses to wear shoes.
- Using the American Association of Equine Practitioners equine welfare position statements as guide to proper care of equine.
Resources Mentioned During This Webinar:
- “I really liked the breakdown and picture showing the difference in healthy hoof vs poor hoof health.” — Awbrei
- “I didn’t know the different age terms for horses, even though I have taken several horse trainings.” — Christina
- “Great overview of equine cruelty investigations! Nice general information that should give ACOs/HCIs a good basis for the initial investigation of horse calls. Thank you for providing this webinar!” — Jenne
- “It was a great refresher on equine care and handling. Helped remind me of what to look for when I do inspections!” — Melissa
- “The most valuable thing I learned was what type of questions to ask during an investigation.” — Sara
- “Such an important topic, I appreciate you offering it as a webinar. Overall, a great refresher for me and I learned a better way to describe why round bales are not suitable for horses (but are for cattle, sheep, and goats). I found the pictures of damaged, overgrown teeth helpful, too. Also, the reason we should not assign a BCS and instead use descriptions. Most importantly, follow up with the owner’s vet for verification.” — Michelle