Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Letters to the Editor

September 3, 2009

Reader questions some 'expert' opinions about horse seizure

Editor,

We helped with the transportation of the seized horses and have nothing but praise for Sheriff Steve Brooks and his deputies in their handling of this matter. They showed extreme courtesy and compassion to the horse owners while carrying out their duties which were under the direction of a state vet and two women.

However, we as ranchers within the area wish to protest, or at least express our outrage at the “seizure” of the horses. We pass by the ranch every day and are more aware of the conditions than anyone within the agencies that ordered the removal. Outside of a dozen or so “old” mares with sucking colts, a sick yearling, and one old sick stud, the balance of the 87 head of horses were not emaciated, but in fair body condition. I am questioning whether ranchers and livestock owners, who depend on livestock for their livelihood, were ever interviewed or just “horsey” people who pass the ranch in question and just “thought” the horses were being mistreated. These are the ones that filed complaints with local authorities, who had to act on the complaint. There is a vast difference in having horses in your backyard and managing a herd. These ranch owners depend on these horses for their livelihood, and theirs is a 400-acre operation and not a 10-acre hobby farm.

Many old mares, along with their colts, were put in pens not to “starve” them, but to try and improve their body condition. I know, for the owners have purchased hay from us twice a week for the past year, and I am amazed that the agency vet with his assistants would call the other horses “at risk” and their decision “final.”

The majority of the lookers who came to the rodeo grounds felt as I did, that most of the horses were in decent shape, and many wanted to take two or three of the horses. Horses from a herd that had been raised and maintained for over 50 years. Their property now offered to others without any consideration for the original owners. I consider my 60 years in raising and handling livestsock gives me more experience, better judgment and a better eye for illnesses and problems in cattle and horses than anyone with the state agency that was in charge.

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