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When and How to Call the Authorities


By DeEtte Hillman, Equine Programs Director 

Did you know Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state? Pennsylvania is one of the top 10 horse states, and horse numbers are climbing in Virginia. That means hundreds of thousands of horses live among us, right in our communities. 

Are they all thriving? We know for a fact that they are not. Information on how many are being abused or neglected is slim or nonexistent, so it’s up to people like you to keep an eye out and report suspected animal cruelty. 

Asara was in our own county, slowly starving to death away from compassionate eyes. When the owner was being evicted from her home, Asara was discovered and Howard County Animal Control was called in. She was brought to DEFHR, but it was too late to save her. So we surrounded her with loving care, maintained her dignity and ended her suffering.

Animal cruelty most often comes in the form of neglect. With horses, this means inadequate food and fresh water, lack of shelter, or veterinary care. If you see a horse that is thin, has little or no quality food or fresh water for days at a time, has an open wound that has not been treated, or hooves that are grossly overgrown, call your local animal control agency as soon as possible. If you’re unfamiliar with local animal control organizations, you can call 911. 

When you call, be as detailed as you can with what you saw, how many animals, where, when, and the frequency of sightings. It’s best if you provide your name and address in case the responders need more information from you after they investigate, but it’s not necessary to do so if you are concerned about your privacy. If you make a report of alleged animal cruelty, the responding agency is required to investigate. 

If you want to know what was done with the information you provided, you can call back within a few weeks. Please take action when you suspect animal cruelty. You can help us fulfill our mission of ensuring that horses like Asara receive the quality of care and treatment that they deserve. 

This article may be republished with permission and credit to DeEtte Hillman, Equine Programs Director at Days End Farm Horse Rescue. For republishing permission, please email [email protected].

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