THE PROCESS OF SEEK­ING HELP

EQUUS - - Eq Conversati­ons -

If you’ve seen horses that ap­pear to be ne­glected or abused, and you’ve con­sid­ered the case care­fully enough to be cer­tain that re­port­ing the owner is the right course of ac­tion, then what?

• Find out who the proper au­thor­i­ties are. This can vary in dif­fer­ent ju­ris­dic­tions. It could be your lo­cal hu­mane so­ci­ety or an­i­mal shel­ter, an­i­mal con­trol depart­ment, sher­iff or po­lice depart­ment. Your county ex­ten­sion agent may be able to guide you.

• Doc­u­ment what you’ve ob­served, but do not do any­thing il­le­gal or put your­self in dan­ger. True an­i­mal abusers may also be dan­ger­ous to peo­ple, and if they sus­pect you re­ported them, they may re­tal­i­ate in anger. Also, tres­pass­ing is il­le­gal, and in some states with “ag-gag” laws, even pho­tograph­ing or video­tap­ing an­i­mals on some­one else’s prop­erty can get you in trou­ble.

That said, if you can take them safely, legally and anony­mously, photos and videos can be in­valu­able ev­i­dence. Also make notes, in­clud­ing the num­ber of horses in­volved and their col­ors and mark­ings; the con­di­tion of each horse; the dates, times and lo­ca­tions of any spe­cific in­ci­dents you wit­ness; de­scrip­tions of peo­ple you see in­volved with the horses on the prop­erty; the ad­dress, and any other rel­e­vant de­tails. It is also help­ful to have in­di­vid­u­als who can serve as wit­nesses to ver­ify the abuse or ne­glect.

• from there. In no case should you at­tempt to pro­vide care or seize the an­i­mals your­self. Do not com­ment about the case on so­cial me­dia; you may com­pli­cate the in­ves­ti­ga­tion or scare the owner into leav­ing the ju­ris­dic­tion with the an­i­mals.

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