Law enforcement agencies don’t always have familiarity with animal cruelty laws, and in the instance that they do, it often only involves companion animals dogs and cats. Knowledge of equine cruelty cases, let alone having the skills and capacity to handle these majestic creatures, especially in large-scale seizures are not as common.
Kim Mosiman and Linda Fielder share their expertise on equine cases and handling in this webinar. Kim is the Co-founder of the Sound Equine Options (SEO) which offers low-cost veterinary services and programs to ensure horses receive adequate care. Meanwhile, Linda is the Animal Cruelty Investigations Manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Criminal Justice Program that provides training, consultations, and other forms of assistance to criminal justice agencies, veterinary professionals, and animal welfare organizations on animal cruelty cases.
Specifics discussed in this session include:
- The challenges surrounding transporting, housing, and handling horses in equine cruelty cases.
- The benefits of collaborating with equine rescues for the investigation and prosecution, the staff, and most importantly the animals.
- A look into the characteristics of ideal rescue and law enforcement partners in terms of their training, knowledge, skills, capacity, professionalism, trust, transparency, communication, and responsiveness.
- Elements to consider when it comes to the application of laws particularly as it relates to the definition of equine species, exceptions for livestock, and other regulations and ordinances that may apply.
- Considerations and guidelines for the early stages of investigation – receiving the report, conducting the first visit, and how rescue partners may be leveraged at this point.
- A rundown on the frequent findings during the investigative process.
- Body Condition Score (BCS): What it is, doing a BCS assessment, understanding the scale, how emaciation impacts the animal’s body, and the health conditions that it results in.
- Typical issues with horse feet and hooves, how to spot potential problems, understanding the structure of hooves, and the importance of follow-through for these cases.
- Common musculoskeletal issues in neglected horses and how they physically manifest.
- Parasites that neglected horses are typically inflicted with, tips on how to use fecal analysis results as evidence, and ways owners may try to circumvent these.
- Which horses are recommended to have blood worked on, and common findings that suggest some sort of neglect based on bloodwork.
- Working on compliance plans with the owner, the value of rescue partners’ and veterinarians’ insights when coming up with these, and the next steps should the plan not be adhered to.
- Factors to take into account when executing search warrants and conducting seizures.
- Planning and pre-serving briefing looking into your available resources, explaining the roles of team members, the scope of the warrant, and what the team might encounter and must look for.
- Serving the warrant as per procedures and securing the scene to conduct a well-documented initial walkthrough.
- Triaging the emergencies so a veterinarian can attend to critical cases.
- Ensuring that each animal and the condition and scene where it is found is documented properly.
- Critical elements to pay attention to post-seizure.
- Timely and comprehensive veterinary exams that documents all findings, diagnostic results, and treatment plan.
- Report writing for witnesses and key stakeholders.
- Putting MOUs in place between investigative agencies, rescue groups, and housing providers.
- Follow through and continuity on the prescribed treatment and refeeding plan.
- Tallying the cost of care and understanding between essential and non-essential procedures.
- Constant communication across those involved on changes in the case and the live evidence.
- Media and fundraising considerations particularly for the rescue groups that rely on donations to shoulder the cost of care.
- The value of partnerships in effectively addressing equine cruelty cases, forging and fostering these relationships, the critical stakeholders, and the services offered by the ALDF.
Questions from the webinar attendees are about:
- Treating large-scale animal cruelty cases as disasters/mass casualty events.
- Resource for templates, agreements, search warrants, and other documentation for equine cases.
- What causes founder and whether ponies are more at-risk for it.
Webinars in this Series with the ALDF include:
- Jan 20: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes
- March 24: Responding to Animal Crimes through a Restorative Justice Approach
- June 2: Tomorrow We Ride! Investigating and Processing Equine Cruelty Cases (this webinar)
- July 19: The Complexities of Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse
- Nov 10: Courtroom Animal Advocate Programs: Approaching Animals as Quasi-Party Crime Victims
Resources and Handouts
- “A great refresher on body score counts and how to handle a warrant.” — Amanda
- “The posture of horses when they are in pain, specifically with the front hooves.” — Aaron
- “Clarification on the hickey scale and just how bad worms can get.” — Cassandra
- “I would say the point on proving pain in Equine. Our code specifically states Pain/Suffering. Our supervisor is always laying out the red tape regarding pain and I think this outline really helped. Thank you!!” — Christobal
- “Great general reminders about scene photos and limiting body scoring on-scene if a vet is not used so numbers match.” — DEBBIE
- “That tried and true hard-earned experience firsthand from speakers is always a key factor for me thanks!” — Jacob
- “The amount of useful and valuable information provided was well organized and informative.” — Jordan
- “Loved the detail on all equine conditions and how to identify… You guys are all fantastic, love your book, keep up the great work! It is all super helpful, great webinar! ” — Kim
- “Refreshing the knowledge I have had in use for so many years was nice. It is always good to hear someone confirm that the practices you are using are general to the program. My trainee also enrolled and found it to be very informative.” — Penny
Founded in 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.
This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.