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.



Teen shoots horses for fun playing ‘American Sniper’ real life video game

In Iron Mountain, Michigan, a 19-year-old man has been accused of shooting two horses, after admitting to authorities he had been playing the video game “American Sniper” before going outdoors to shoot the animals in a real life video game. According to the Iron Mountain Daily News, Luke Endjamin Wool, allegedly told authorities he shot a draft horse on February 24 and then shot and injured the second horse on March 16. The investigation from the March 16 incident tied the first horse’s death to Wool; that horse died as a result of severing a main artery after breaking its leg.

Wool told police he shot the second horse because it “laughed” at him and “draft horses are supposed to be in pairs.”

On Monday, Wool was arraigned in Iron County Trial Court. The owner of the horses, Chuck Battan stated the surviving horse had been in surgery to remove bullets from his flank quarter. The family have been horse owners for the past 42 years and have never had an incident of anyone shooting their animals. The 2,500-pound male horses performed in horse-pulling competitions and some farm work.

Wool lived rent free with his pastor and when they were out of town, Wool figured out how to get five guns and ammunition out of the safe.

If convicted on all counts, Wool faces the maximum of 18 years in prison for the discharge of a firearm in or at a building, a ten-year felony, and two counts of killing or torturing animals, each a four-year felony.  He is currently being held in jail pending a $10,000 bond.

(Police photos of Luke Wool allegedly dressed playing “American Sniper”)

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Wild horses gather to mourn the death of mare who died birthing her foal

In an extremely sad yet heartwarming video, a herd of horses are shown gathering around a dead mare who died giving birth to a foal, as if both mourning her death and expressing their final respects.

On the Facebook page of the  Salt River Wild Horse Management Group,  the video shows separate bands of wild horses, along the Salt River in Arizona, lining up as they slowly walk by the body of a two-year-old dun mare referred to as Clydette. The mare died after her foal became stuck in the birth canal during delivery. The organization rushed their veterinarian out to the area to help, but by the time they arrived, Clydette had gone into septic shock and died – the foal also dying because she was just stuck too long.

As the veterinarian team moved away from Clydette’s breathless body, her band arrived and nuzzled her, after which the roan, her lead stallion, cried out for her very loudly. Shortly after that, they moved away from her body, but stayed close. Other bands heard and somehow knew exactly where the mare was and what had occurred:

“What happened next was amazing; the other bands stood in line taking turns saying their goodbyes. First one band, then another. Then the two lead stallions of those two bands got into a short power struggle. Then you can see how Clydette’s lead stallion comes running back one last time letting out a short scream in a last effort to protect her, or perhaps to tell everyone that she was his.”

“It takes a most highly intelligent species to understand and actually mourn death. We have seen bands mourn their losses before, but for other bands to come and mourn her death also was simply awe inspiring. These animals have evolved to have amazing survival skills and very close and protective family bonds. In this natural behavior, lies true scientific value.”

This video was taken after her own band had walked away, approximately 30 minutes after she died. Many thanks to the person who called in this emergency.

Rest in peace Clydette and little Tootie.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona based non profit Organization (501c3), set up to protect and preserve the Salt River Wild Horses. To donate, please click here.

(Photo and video of wild horses gather courtesy of Salt River Wild Horse Management)

Watch the video here. Draw your own conclusions as to the horses reactions.

Colt attacked by cougar during birth recovering from injuries

In Norco, California, a colt named Charlie was attacked by a cougar while being born just three weeks ago. Shortly before the New Year, Phlicka had been giving birth when the cougar attacked. Owner, Diane Truxillo heard a commotion from the dogs that something was going on and rushed outside to the barn.

According to AbcNews, the family dogs chased the cougar away, but not before the rare newborn Knabstrupper foal was critically injured.

“You could see his carotid artery. You could see that the membrane covering the carotid artery was the only thing that wasn’t broken,” stated Allyson Gagnon, the veterinarian who treated Charlie. “He wanted to live. He really wanted to live.”

Phlicka was also treated for her injuries to her eye while she stayed next to her foal as he slowly recuperated. And for nearly three weeks, Charlie had the most dedicated and loving care. Supporters in the Norco community helped with donations to pay Charlie’s veterinarian expenses. Family and friends call it a miracle.

(Photo of Charlie after cougar attack screenshot via AbcNews)

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Horse survived 6 weeks alone in snow after owner abandoned her

A six-year-old mare that had been abandoned in the deep snow in the back country at Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, at the end of a hunting trip survived 6 weeks alone. According to her owner, BJ Hill, the proprietor  and operator of Swift Creek Outfitters and Teton Horseback Adventures, the horse named Valentine had become extremely ill and “had all the signs of dying.” At that point, Valentine was left on her own; Hill was sure a predator would have killed her in an area known for wolves.

Not so at all, because on December 14, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported a trail groomer spotted the dark-coated mare, albeit extremely gaunt and pawing at the drifts to find any hidden grass,  standing out in the deep snow. He contacted the Shosone National Forest’s Wind River ranger station in Dubois. By the next morning U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Dirk Chalfant found out who the horse belonged to and what had occurred:

“What I discovered is this horse had probably been in there for six weeks, and at a least three of those weeks it was probably in about five feet of snow and occasionally 30 below zero,” stated Chalfant.

And then came the plans for her rescue after Hill was told his horse had survived. Through ungroomed trails and snow still falling, Chalfant, Hill and Hill’s son loaded up some hay for Valentine and used a snowmobile to finally find her. When Valentine spotted her rescuers, she made it quite clear she had no intentions of being left behind again.

“She didn’t want to spend another night back there alone,” Chalfant said. “If we had to leave her and drive away, I think she would have been heartbroken.”

Thanks to the groomer who first spotted the horse, he was able to carve out a rough path and then the men built a road behind her. Attached by a lead rope, the snow was packed down by the men, as Valentine happily made her way out of Fish Creek Trail. For the next eight hours, the horse, at her own pace traveled nearly 20 miles through the deep snow; she had no “quit” in her. And when the men and Valentine reached the road, a trailer was ready to take her home to Pavillion.

Some true stories are just stranger than fiction. Welcome home Valentine.  (Photo of horse survived courtesy of US Forest Service.)

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Denver police officer loses one vacation day after ‘forgetting’ about his horse

A Denver police officer has been docked one vacation day after he “forgot” and left his horse tied in a stall for 16 hours without food or water. By the time the horse was discovered, released, watered and fed, he soon suffered from a severe case of colic and had to be humanely euthanized.

According to Channel 9News, the Denver Police Department mounted patrol officer, Joseph Teeter ignored his horse MC Hammer after the two had patrolled the downtown area on September 26, 2016. Teeter returned the horse to the Denver Police Mounted Patrol Barn, removed the saddle and tied the horse-leaving two to three feet of slack. Documents state Tweeter “became distracted doing paperwork and forgot he had left the horse tied in the stall.”

MC Hammer was discovered the next morning still tied to the eyebolt. Although he was fed and watered, the horse colicked, however veterinarians could not conclude that the illness was a result of being tied for so long. In a December 20 disciplinary letter, Officer Teeter’s “forgetting” “exposed a live animal to cruel and extreme conditions.”

MC Hammer was ten years old and had been with the police force for nearly one year. The disciplinary letter stated Teeter was extremely remorseful about the situation and had been devastated at the time of the horse’s death. The district attorney’s office did not press charges.

Rest in peace MC Hammer.

(Photo of Denver police horse via website)

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Woman banned from keeping horses after seen on skeletal racehorse

A 22-year-old woman from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England has been banned for ten years from keeping horses after she posted photos on social media of her riding a skeletal racehorse.charlotte-mcpherson-2

According to the AngleNews, Charlotte McPherson was reported last March to the RSPCA after irate animal advocates photographed her riding a skeletal horse at a public event. The malnourished Thoroughbred named Thor’s bony hindquarters had been hidden from view with a heavy blanket.

On Monday, McPherson pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty at Birmingham Magistrate’s Court. She had been charged with causing unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of the horse’s emaciated condition, failing to protect him from pain and suffering and injury by riding the horse in such poor condition. During the time, McPherson had the horse, she continued to ride him in that emaciated condition at least twice a week.charlotte-mcpherson-3

“Not only was he thin, but he had a sore on his spine which was underneath the saddle,” reported RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith. “Thor would have been in a lot of pain while he was being ridden.”

In addition to the ten year ban on keeping a horse, McPherson was also sentenced to a year of community service, 160 hours of unpaid work and several fines including victim surcharges. Thor has since been rehabilitated and adopted and is reported to be living a wonderful life.

(Photos of skeletal racehorse via Caters and RSPCA screenshots)

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Horse dished out justice after kicking student for slapping her on hindquarters

Three people face criminal charges after slapping a Kingston, Ontario police horse during the annual Queen’s University homecoming celebration on Saturday, but not before the horse dished out justice by kicking the student. According to Global News, the horse named Murney, had been on patrol with her partner Saturday afternoon when she was slapped multiple times.kingston-ontario-horse-2

A woman was released at the scene, but will be issued  a summons. Two men were arrested and have been charged with causing injury to a law enforcement animal.  A video posted on Instagram shows a woman running up behind a horse and slapping it on the side. The startled horse reacts and kicks her left rear foot causing the the woman to fall down. The young woman quickly gets back on her feet and runs away.

Murney is  one of the latest horses to join the team, and fortunately the horse kept her composure:kingston-ontario-horse-3

“It speaks to the danger of approaching a horse and striking it from behind,” Const. Steve Koopman told Global News. “It could have been a much worse situation… Luckily the animal didn’t bolt and the officer wasn’t harmed.”

Hopefully the woman and the other students learned not to  slap a horse on their behind. It could have been much worse!

Photos via Twitter

Disturbing cruelty: Horse dragged behind truck as foal follows to keep up

A horse owner, who tethered his mare to the back of his pickup truck and dragged her along main roadways in Lincolnshire has been slammed among citizens, animal advocates and social media for causing “distressful, traumatic and painful”  animal cruelty reports the Express.

horse-dragged-thru-traffic-2On Thursday, a heartbreaking 57-second video shows the frightened animal nearly getting hit by an oncoming driver at a T-Junction in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. The blue vehicle was spotted when the driver pulled out of a field with the horse tied to the back of the truck, and a foal was left to frantically follow behind her mother.

The video clearly shows the horse struggling to keep up as the rope pulls tighter whenever the horse slows up. At one part in the video, the foal was almost hit by an oncoming vehicle as the baby had no idea what was happening and danced  around the traffic in pure fright. Cars swerved and braked to avoid hitting the young horse.

According to the Lincolnshire Echo, the RSPCA  has asked for the public’s help in identifying the driver.

“These images look very distressing; it must have been very traumatic and painful for this horse to be pulled along in this way with a foal trailing behind. Other road users are also being put in danger by the looks of these pictures…”

Anyone with information is asked to call the cruelty line on 0300 123 4999.

(Photos via screenshots of video)

View video here.