So I tried to get a horse off the feedlot. I am feeling a bit sad, pissed, and hopeless, thus sharing with you since you probably understand. I will say, I wont do it again, get a horse off a feedlot. Rather, I think I will just go head to head with killers at the auctions. The good old boys that see horses as livestock and a meat source need to be put out of business. I think my story is why people who want to help, should go to auctions. I get it now. Do not wait for the horses to end up in the kill pens. Nothing good will come of that.
Katy Rules. 2007 chestnut mare, was found at a killpen. She arrived thin. Per lot owner, she was still strong even though thin. I was told that after being unloaded from the trailer, she managed to get a cut on her neck. Within a week or so, the wound had grown and was covered in maggots. I was told that the volunteers that go to this lot to take photos of horses in hopes of finding them homes, treated it the best they could. The lot owner also stated that he treated the wound but is limited to what he can give the horses due to the potential of being slaughtered. The wound improved but Katy did not. The lot owner isolated her from the main herd but in a pen with one other, also injured horse, to make treating her wound easier but she was not allowed to have her photo posted online with the other horses that were available. It was at this time, I was verbally told about Katy when inquiring about another OTTB on the lot.
I bought Katy without ever seeing her. I was not given any photos just told about the wound and that she had a body score of 2, if that.
Here is what Katy looked like coming off the lot. Even with being fed, as I have been told, high quality alfalfa, she failed to thrive. The lot blames her cribbing for her thin condition. I have owned and worked with several cribbers ( wind suckers) and have never had them be this thin. It is a manageable condition and often cribbers have ulcers. Once ulcers are treated, cribbing is much less. But I digress. Here is a pic of her wound. You can see that maggots chewed on her skin surrounding the wound. The wound and the area around will ( or would have ) eventually sloughed off. The lot denies that there were maggots. You decide based on the photo.
I was making the 9 hour drive tomorrow to go get her. I had to wait a few days to get a coggins and health certificate done otherwise I would have been to her last Thursday. The coggins was pulled last friday but had to wait for results. Katy was moved to a nearby barn by one of the volunteers for 2 days and then to a pasture on Saturday where she had more space, hay and grass. Also this was to make treating her wound easier for the volunteers.
I get a call this afternoon that she is laying down and will not get up. I tell everyone involved to call the vet. Apparently she has been laying most of the day. The night before she fell down twice when being led into the barn. The vet said that she would not get up and that there was no way that she was going to get into the trailer. This was a horse that had given up. So Katy was humanely euthanized.
Even though I will not get to meet Katy in person or show her that there is a life after being dumped at auction/kill pen, I know that her last days were out of the feed lot and hopefully, she felt a little love.
Is it so hard for these tracks, the breeders, the owners and the trainers to reach out and find the horses good homes? Why do they go straight to auction where it is known that the horse will have a dubious fate? I was willing to drive 18 hours round trip, to pick up a horse that I had not seen. A horse I knew had a body score of 2 or less, a wound that was made worse by maggots and no idea about her soundness to be a riding horse. And she was a cribber/wind sucker to top it off. Would it not be better to get the horse to someone like me rather than dump them at an auction which is often a quick trip to the killpen? Can they at least get a chance at a decent home. Why is that so hard?
The lot is in Washington. The Lot guy, to my surprise, did call me back after I left him a message about the state of Katy. He then kept me on the phone for 40 minutes, even after I told him I had enough of the conversation at least 3 times. The best part was when he tried to blame me for not picking her up sooner. I informed him that I had to get her across 3 states, thus needed a coggins. Had coggins drawn on Friday since that was the soonest we could get the vet. Would have had my results this am, thus why I would be there today. He said that he has 'extra coggins' so he could have just given me one. Really, how does he have extra? He actually told me how he does it. He gets horses from Idaho ( which is very strict about coggins and HC), thus they have to have the coggins. Most of his horses are bought by" the bleeding hearts " in WA and OR, he tells me. WA and OR do not require coggins or HC to travel between. So now he has 'extra'. Somehow match up a coggins report to the horse that is leaving last minute due to being bought by one of us 'bleeding hearts' and now the horse has a coggins. He is doing us 'tree huggers' a favor. I am thinking that this is not totally legal. I told him his method was 'interesting' and he seemed to catch on that he had babbled too much about that.
I am having a hard time with this. I get that these assholes do not need to work with private people, they can just ship the horses off but having us tip-toe around them or be as nice as we can be so that horses can be saved is basically extortion, without the illegal part since there is no law to protect the horses from these killer buyers. The only possible solution is to go to the auctions. Don't let the horse get in the hands of these sociopaths, but how do you get people out to these things. It is not like they are at convenient times, at least not here. Rarely any on a Saturday. Usually 10 am during the week.
I am going to have to go back to the saying that you can judge a society by the way it treats it's animals. Well, if that is the case, many of the humans on this planet just sort of suck.
Thanks for listening,
To date, there have been no answers as to why Katy Rules was allowed to languish and die in the condition she was in -- not from the feed lot broker "rescue" up north, nor are there answers from the Agricultural Inspector of the state of Washington, or the Racing Commissioner from the state Katy last raced in.
Here is Katy, shortly before she passed. RIP, sweet girl.
Please rescue a horse local to you in need. Please keep them from falling into a situation like this.