What Should I Do if I Suspect Horse Neglect?

Most equine cruelty investigations begin with a tip to law enforcement, and whether those cases are successfully prosecuted can depend largely on how tipsters share their information. Here’s what to remember.
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What Should I Do if I Suspect Horse neglect
No matter how detailed the written notes, the best information often comes from photographs of the animal and its environment. | Photo: iStock

Last fall, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture asked state police to follow up on a pair of complaints received by the state veterinarian’s office about suspected cruelty at the St. Francis Farm Sanctuary, in Langdon. After a monthslong investigation, 26 allegedly maltreated horses at the farm were either surrendered or seized, and the sanctuary’s operator was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty—all thanks to a tip.

Indeed, most equine cruelty investigations begin with a tip to law enforcement. And whether those cases are successfully prosecuted can depend largely on how tipsters share their information.

“We are animal lovers and we want to help, but what we see as neglect may not be what it seems,” said DeEtte Hillman, equine programs director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue, in Woodbine, Maryland. “If you don’t gather information and report it properly, you can upside the process

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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