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May 8, 2012

The HSUS and Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition Offer Reward in Cheboygan, Mich., Horse Abandonment

Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition

Update: The reward amount was increased to $3,750 as a result of a $1,000 private donation towards the reward fund established for this case.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition are offering a reward of up to $2,750 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the abandonment of a horse on a road near Cheboygan, Mich.

The Case: News reports give the following account: On May 2, 2012, animal control officers from the Cheboygan County Humane Society responded to a call about a sick horse lying on the side of Otsego Rd. near the Otsego County border. Eyewitnesses reported that a trailer had been pulled up to the scene and the horse had been dumped from it. By the time animal control officers arrived at the site, the horse, emaciated with hips and backbone protruding, was in such bad condition that he couldn’t stand up and had to be humanely euthanized. The chestnut horse was wearing a halter and was estimated to be in his teenage years.

Cheboygan County Humane Society director Mary Talaske points out that there are people living nearby who are involved in horse rescue and who could have helped the owner of the horse. In addition, the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition—of which The HSUS is a founding member—has a hay bank and resources readily available to horse owners who are having trouble feeding or caring for their horses.

“There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to neglect or abandon their horse,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for The Humane Society of the United States and president of the Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition. “Animal abandonment is against the law, and we are hopeful that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about who allowed this horse’s health to deteriorate and left him to die.”

There are many responsible alternatives to abandoning a horse, including: selling the horse to a properly vetted private owner, leasing the horse to another horse enthusiast, or relinquishing the horse to a therapeutic riding center, park police program, or reputable rescue or sanctuary. If a horse is incapacitated and can’t recover, humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian should also be considered. Auctions can be dangerous for horses because they can be purchased by killbuyers and forced to enter the abusive horse slaughter pipeline including auctions, inhumane transport and the ultimate painful betrayal—horse slaughter.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

The Investigators: Cheboygan County Animal Control is investigating the case. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Cheboygan County Humane Society at 231-238-8221.

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, go to humanesociety.org.

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Media Contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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