Runaway horse drawn carriage collides with cars in Wisconsin

It was a terrible day for horses, drivers and carriage riders on Saturday afternoon in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin when a horse drawn carriage collided with two vehicles on one of the main streets in mid-morning.

According to Fox News, eight people had been in the carriage at the time of impact; several people had been in the vehicles involved. Fortunately none of the 15 people were seriously injured, and the horses only suffered minor cuts and bruises and are expected to make a full recovery.

Two families with young children had been on the carriage ride when something went wrong. According to one witness, as the driver was about to get onto the carriage, the two Percherons spooked and launched into a full sprint. And … boom the panicky horses hit the cars. Onlookers quickly came to the aid of the victims and patiently helped the horses. One of the horses practically ran on top of the hood of a car; its reins became entangled on the auto’s wheel.

Perhaps this is just another example of how automobiles and horse drawn carriages aren’t made to share the road. Surely we can do better.

(Photos of horse drawn carriage accident  via screenshots Fox News)

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Lakeland woman charged with DUI while riding horse

In Lakeland, Florida a woman was arrested on Friday for riding a horse down a busy highway while drunk. A concerned citizen called 911 to report seeing the 53-year-old woman riding her horse and appearing to be confused and possibly in danger.

According to CbsNews, Polk County Sheriff deputies performed a sobriety test on Donna Byrne and stated her breath samples that registered blood-alcohol level of .161 – were twice Florida’s legal limit of .08. Authorities charged Byrne with DUI and animal neglect for endangering the life of her horse and failing to provide proper protection for the animal.

In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, Sheriff Grady Judd stated:

“Ms. Byrne was obviously not in any condition to be on the road. She not only put herself and the horse in danger, but also anyone who was driving on the road, which is typically very busy.”

Byrne has several previous animal cruelty and drug possession arrests. The horse has been moved to the Polk County Sheriff’s Animal Control livestock facility. The horse named Boduke was tied to the police cruiser and peacefully chomped on  grass while the arrest was underway. He will likely be returned to Byrne unless authorities decide to fight her for custody of the horse.

(Photos of Byrnes DUI while riding horse screenshot Diane Dodge AP and sheriff’s office)

Byrnes was booked into the Polk County Jail.

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Teen who admitted to shooting horse with crossbow released from custody

A teenager who surrendered to police over an alleged crossbow shooting of two horses on Wednesday, resulting in the death of a beloved 19-year-old Haflinger mare,  was released in line with the Youth Justice Act – a program for youth diversion on weapons and animal cruelty charges.

The 17-year-old boy was arrested and interviewed at the Darwin Police Station on Thursday after authorities seized the crossbow alleged to have been used in the attack on the horses. Officials continue to investigate possible accomplices. According to the NTNews, a second horse was discovered with a similar arrow in his rump just one day after the pony named Pearly was shot and killed.

“This horrible sight greeted one of our young members today when she went to catch her own horse from the paddock at 4pm. Pearl, a gentle and well loved pony who has taught many children to ride and brought happiness to many visitors during her time at FBEC, was found with TWO arrows imbedded in her side. The members are shocked and horrified that someone could be so cruel, evil and stupid. Pearl has been taken to the Vets for surgery and we are awaiting news…

Pearl crossed over the bridge tonight. The arrows were too long and internal damage too vast. RIP Pearly you brought joy to many You didn’t deserve this. Condolences to your people,” had been posted on the Facebook page Fannie Bay Equestrian Club.”

Fannie Bay Equestrian Club believes the quarter horse named Hollywood Hitman  may have sustained a six-inch deep wound to his rump on Wednesday night also, but because the arrow worked it’s way out of the horse’s body as he fled in pain, staff members didn’t notice the wound until Thursday morning.

“The blood had dried and hole clotted over … he was in obvious pain,” the Facebook page entry read. “The vet had to open it up to see if part of the shaft was lodged inside.”

Hollywood Hitman and Pearly shared a paddock. On Friday, Pearly was buried:

“RIP Pearly, you brought joy to many. You didn’t deserve this.”

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Truly emotional moment when dying man gets his last wish to feed a horse carrots

Patrick Saunders, 87,  of Braunton, Devon, had been a lifelong lover of horses, and it was his last wish to feed a horse treats – carrots, apples and perhaps a handful of polo mints.

According to Cornwall Live, Saunders had spent most of this life around horses – beginning his working career at a stable after his father, Victor had introduced him to the stately animals. From that day, Saunders always had a strong connection to the animals. At the hospice facility where Saunders spent his final days, he was too weak to get out of bed, but had constantly told the nurses stories of his relationship with the horses and how much he loved them. And so the staff at North Devon Hospice set out to arrange for  a horse named Victor, a stately stallion, to visit Saunders so he could pet him and feed him treats one last time.

Although he had not been feeling well at all, the day that Victor showed up, both the staff and Saunders’ daughter couldn’t help but notice the joy in the elderly man’s face.

“When they told me that a horse was coming to visit Dad, I thought that maybe he would be able to see the animal from his balcony. I had no idea he would be able to get so close,” stated Jayne. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”

It had been one of the nurses caring for Patrick who arranged Victor’s visit. 

“His passion for horses was so clear and they’d obviously played a big part in his life. One phone call later and then there was a beautiful brown stallion standing outside the front door of the hospice. I’ll never forget Patrick’s smile when he was stroking the horse’s face. You could see they had a real connection and it is experiences like that which make hospice care so special,” said Cathy Whattingham who made the arrangements.

Sadly, Patrick died three days later, but not without that special experience – thanks to the nurses and the stable who arranged for Victor’s visit. Rest in peace Patrick Saunders. You will be missed.

(Photos of dying man’s last wish screenshots via Cornwall Live and YouTube)

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Check out the video – bring your tissues:

Animals were left to die in rising flood waters

If not for the help of a team of good Samaritans, several animals who were held captive in closed stalls in one flooded Texas area were going to drown. A concerned individual alerted the self-appointed rescue team to the life-or-death situation and shortly thereafter, the animals were saved.

Gordon Bozant recounted what happened in a public Facebook post:

Myself and some others were called upon by a concerned citizen off of Coe Loop and Klein Road concerning horses closed up in stalls with water up to their neck and cattle struggling in the high waters. When we arrived, a couple of people already had a boat and we were able to get back to the barn. We were able to get halters on 2 mares and a stallion. We had to swim them out for approximately a quarter of a mile.

The animals were traumatized and exhausted from their ordeal…but they were alive. According to Bozant, they were taken to his ranch to recuperate. Thanks to the effort of this rescue team, three horses, a cow and her calf, two other calves and one chicken were saved. Tragically, other animals in the area were unable to be saved and thanks to the rising water, they will likely perish.

Bozant expressed disgust that the animals were abandoned in their stalls, he wrote:

If you read this post and they are your animals, why didn’t you get in touch with somebody that could help you?? Instead, you chose to do nothing and let these defenseless animals to die a horrible death.
And yes, the Sheriff’s Office has been notified of your negligence.

Bozant offered gratitude to those who participated in this rescue – he thanked:

Thanks to Marie Selby-BozantZach FelandBrandy StarcherAmanda KoesterTammy Dachs and Corby Walton for all your help in trying to save these animals. There are many others to thank who we have never met until today! Great job by all.

(Images via Gordon Bozant/Facebook)

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Horses forced to pull 7700 pounds of weight in Spanish cart-pulling contest

In a bizarre cart-pulling contest competition forcing horses attached to carts overcome obstacles while pulling heavy weights, the Animalist Party Against Mistreatment to Animals (in Spanish : PACMA), shared a shocking video on its website. The disturbing scenes show horses tethered to carts and pulling up to 7,700 pounds of heavy weights through soft sand in Valencia during a contest called “Pull and Drag.” (Tiro y Arrastre)

According to the Daily Mail, the “keepers” are shown punching the animals in the face, stomach and testicles while simultaneously kicking them to cover the race course faster. The horses can be seen in obvious distress and try to react to their abusers, but are unable to defend themselves from the heartless treatment – all in the name of “sport.”

Complaints have been filed with the government in Valencia for the old tradition still existing in modern times, although PACMA state these competitions that began in the 1940s, have nothing to do with Spanish traditions. Unfortunately the advocacy group says these competitions are all too commonplace,  and the government has done little to respond to the overt animal cruelty complaints.

The competitions are held on a regular basis with big prize purses awarded to the winners. PACMA is calling for an end to the races under the European law relating to animal cruelty and the use of animals in shows. The Valencian Federation says it has strict rules as to animal treatment and would take action against cruelty. You can judge for yourself if you think this is a cruel “sport” and should be stopped.

(Photos and videos of cart-pulling contests via Facebook and screenshots PACMA)




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Disturbing video:



Whoa! Senate committee says ‘neigh’ to reopening horse slaughter plants in U.S

The United States Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment to ban any horse slaughter plants from opening in the United States on Thursday. In a news release from the Humane Society of the United States, Senators Tom Udall, (D-NM) and Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) led the bipartisan effort along with committee members Senators Christopher Coons, (D-Del), Susan Collins, (R-Maine), Diane Feinstein, (D-Calif.), Jack Reid, (D-R.I.) and Jeanne Shaheen, (D-N.H.) cosponsoring the amendment as gaining strength in the anti-slaughter campaign.

Last week, the House committee voted to reopen horse slaughter plants in the United States. The Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 27 to 25 members who support the anti-slaughter bill. All but one Democrat on the committee voted to oppose the amendment to ban horse slaughter while 26 of 30 Republicans favored it. The vote came as the panel approved a Department of Agriculture funding bill. The House and Senate committees are now in disagreement, and key lawmakers will have to settle this item among others is dispute.

“Unimaginable because American horses deserve a better fate than to be gathered up by a disreputable ‘kill buyer’ who outbids a rescuer at an auction, loaded onto an overcrowded truck, and then stunned, hoisted up by one leg, and pulled apart piece by piece – which is exactly  what the 27 lawmakers who voted against the Roybal-Allard/Dent amendment are trying to sanction,” wrote Wayner Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Horse slaughter has been banned for more than a decade. The ban is enforced by blocking the Department of Agriculture from paying for inspectors at horse meat plants that slaughter horses and is in place through September 30.

Pacelle states the negotiations in today’s vote in the Senate signifies the country’s feelings against horse slaughter for human consumption. According to U.S. Senator Tom Udall, Americans find the thought of horse slaughter for their meat repulsive, stating,

“…there is no reason the federal government should contribute in an way. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

The slaughter of American horses continues to disgust most people. Horses not only serve as pets and companions, they have also served in the development and building of the West, heroes in war and still serve in police and other national and federal positions. As to the few people who want to benefit by slaughtering horses, investing is such an endeavor is little different than opening a restaurant which sells dog meat. Whereas there are homeless horses – much as there are homeless dogs and cats yet we don’t mix our dogs into the meat stew. It again becomes a moral responsibility for horse owners to care for their horses  and promote proper breeding as well as adequate rescue and retirement.

Animal advocates must continue the fight.

(Photo of Dakota by Liz Lamont)

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Woman arrested for striking police horse with pole and nail attached

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a woman faces charges for striking a police horse with a flag pole with a nail attached during a demonstration on Saturday morning. Lisa Simon, 23, faces aggravated assault, illegally taunting a police animal, prohibited offensive weapons, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction of administrative law.

According to Penn Live,  the incident unfolded on Saturday morning at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg during a demonstration of “March Against Sharia.” The protest had been scheduled to take place in other cities including New York and Dallas. During the rally, Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Mounted Patrol and the Harrisburg Police helped with crowd control. As a State Trooper and his equine partner, Sampson, moved among the crowd, Simon attacked the horse – hitting him in the side of the neck. Sampson suffered minor injuries, but was able to return to work.

Simon is reported to have resisted arrest. She was moved to the Dauphin County prison in lieu of $100,000 bail; her preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6. As of Monday night, Simon was still in custody.

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(Submitted photo of woman arrested for striking police horse)








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Charleston carriage horse Big John ‘stumbled and fell’

On Wednesday, a Charleston, South Carolina carriage horse turned a corner onto Meeting Street and fell to the pavement as he was pulling a carriage with passengers. The official report from the City of Charleston’s Department of Livability and Tourism, says the horse “stumbled and fell” to the pavement.

“At approximately 323 Meeting Street the horse stumbled and fell to the pavement. A large strap from the harness was used to lift the horse so it could get its rear legs under its body and Big John stood up on all fours,” the report read.

According to Live5News, the report detailed how the Charleston Carriage Works driver called the company’s barn for help while passengers were safely escorted off of the carriage. Big John had fallen on his right side, and barn hands helped to release him from his harness and tack equipment. Carriage horses are trained to stay still until they are safely able to rise so as not to get entangled in the equipment.

Firefighters from the nearby Meeting Street Fire Station also helped lift the horse to free it from the entanglement, at which point the horse sat up on its rump. The entire incident lasted 11 minutes and the horse was walked back to the barn; high school students pushed the carriage back. It has been confirmed it was the horse’s first tour of the day.

“He wasn’t tired, didn’t collapse, wasn’t hot – simply tripped, which happens from time to time (to all of us),” Broderick Christoff, the company spokesperson reported.

The horse was examined by the vet and cleared to return to work although he did suffer some minor abrasions on his rear left hock and right front elbow which were both treated. A subsequent report stated the horse was given a “trot” test recorded on video, and he showed no signs of lameness.

Animal rights activists have continued to question what happened, with one woman stating had Big John just tripped, he would have immediately risen, but in this case she claimed he was down for a half-hour. Charleston has recently passed  new horse carriage heat rules requiring carriage horses be removed from service if temperatures exceed 95 degrees. On Wednesday, the temperatures were in the 80s.

On Facebook, the Charleston Animal Society posted a witness’ video documenting the horse’s ordeal.

 “It is time for an independent, scientific, peer-reviewed study to determine if Big John and other horses are truly working in a safe and humane environment. Charleston Animal Society, Pet Helpers and several other local and national animal welfare organizations want to see a study conducted.”

The video can be viewed here:

Ohio man accused of cutting off his horse’s leg

The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help finding a Fredericktown, Ohio man accused of cutting off one of his horse’s legs. According to Local12News, authorities are searching for Mark Hill, and although what happened at the farm continues to be under investigation, Sheriff John Hinton states one of Hill’s horses recently broke a leg. Instead of ordering a barn call for a veterinarian to come out to his farm to examine the horse, Hill has been accused of using a saw to amputate the horse’s leg.

A warrant for Hill’s arrest has been issued – citing a second degree misdemeanor charge for animal cruelty. Horses are not considered companion animals in Ohio and are labeled livestock. If found guilty, Hill could face a maximum of six-months in jail.

The Morrow County Humane Society were called out and humanely euthanized the horse. Anyone with information is asked to  call the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office at 419-946-4444. For updated information, follow the organization on their Facebook page.

(Photo of man accused of cutting off horse’s leg courtesy of Morrow County Sheriff’s Office)

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Read about a dog sacrificing his own life to save guests at a wedding.