The Havasupai Tribe report they have convicted three people in animal cruelty cases for the abuse of horses. More than 20,000 people annually visit the Havasu Canyon; part of the Grand Canyon in Arizona which belongs to the Havasupai tribe. For years animal advocates have complained about the mistreatment of many of the hundreds of horses, burros and mules used to carry heavy loads up and down the canyon every day. The treatment of these animals has been abusive and cruel. The tribal court promised to make animal cruelty offenses a top priority.
According to the AZDailySun, two more individuals face charges of animal cruelty filed in the past month. Viral photos of a horse collapsing and being kicked in the face by his owners led to an investigation, however the horse’s physical condition has yet to be confirmed. A post on the Facebook page dated April 24 on Save Havasupai Horses stated:
“Today SAVE received word that the animal in our post who collapsed and was kicked in the head has been found and is alive, however, NO ONE HAS DONE ANYTHING AND HE HAS NOT RECEIVED VET CARE.
WE ARE OUTRAGED.”
Two years ago, the abusive treatment of pack animals including horses, mules and donkeys, primarily owned by tribal members, brought worldwide outrage and hundreds of calls to increase regulations and humane treatment for the hiking companies using these animals. When the tribe began to score horses based on the Henneke Body Scoring System, horses were required to meet a health standard before they could be used as pack animals on the Grand Canyon trails.
When a A series of photos, posted on the SAVE Havasupai Horses Facebook gained viral attention last month, people were again outraged by the lack of regulations concerning the humane care of these horses.
“SAVE received the following photos this afternoon, from a group of hikers who were in Havasu Canyon YESTERDAY, 4/19/18. After the horse collapsed, the owner tried getting it up to its feet. When that failed, HE BEGAN KICKING THE ANIMAL IN THE FACE.”
“A common rebuttal to our posts showing the abuse to Havasupai pack animals is that these are singular “isolated incidents” and “not the norm.” We’ve never denied that there are good wranglers/packers in Supai who treat their animals well and care for them. The amount of photos, videos and tourists’ testimony proving that this abuse is much more common than a few “isolated incidents.” however is astounding.”
Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie assures the community they are prosecuting individuals suspected of abusing the horses, however horses are still in terrible condition which has continued for “as long as anyone can remember,” according to animal advocacy groups. The Arizona Equine Rescue Organization encourages tourists to carefully investigate the tour groups before signing up.
In a previous animal cruelty conviction in October 2017, Cecil Watahomigie, in a plea deal, only served six-months probation and reportedly was able to keep the horse he severely abused. According to AZCentral, Watahomigie had been charged in both tribal and U.S. courts for animal abuse involving his emaciated pack horse as well as intoxication. Animal advocates were outraged and had demanded the tribal court stop him from doing business with pack animals.
Please help us by contacting the following organizations/individuals and demanding that they take immediate action to ensure the safety and welfare of all Havasupai pack animals. This abuse has been allowed to happen for TOO LONG.
Laura Naranjo, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Justice Services (OJS) District III Office, Special Agent in Charge
Abbie Fink, the tribe’s Public Relations Representative
602-957-8881 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Cundy at Wildland Trekking -large outfitter who uses these animals and has influence: 1- 800-715-4453 email@example.com
Read previous article here.
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