Thursday, December 30, 2010
Numerous reports from around the state have told NickerNews of waking to tail-less horses.
Some criminal(s) are sneaking onto properties in the dark and snipping off feet of tail hair.
It's disconcerting, especially considering the reportedly less-than-attentive response from some law enforcement officials.
But it's also troublesome because who knows what can happen when stranger meets horse in the dark. We'd hate for the horse to be hurt when startled or handled. As far as the thieves, here's hoping they get double-barreled, one way or another.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
That means YOU!
We've all watched as the Awful People of Maine get slaps on the wrists for neglecting and abusing horses.
I'm talking about the tiny fines charged to the likes of Alexis Ingraham and Don Genthner for their crimes against their very own horses.
One can expect the same flimsy and paltry treatment from the Kennebec County District Attorney's office unless these officials hear from you, the ones who care about horse abuse and neglect!
Let District Attorney Evert Fowle and his office know about your concerns as the trials approach for Brett and Alexis Ingraham.
Give the Kennebec DA a call or email at email@example.com or (207) 623-1156.
Flowers at right are a reminder, that we all get more with honey than vinegar. I'm saying PLEASE and I hope y'all do, too!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Word has reached NickerNews that Norma Worley is retiring from her position as director of the embattled Animal Welfare Program.
According to Deputy Commissioner Ned Porter, Worley informed Commissioner Seth Bradstreet of her decision recently. She will leave January 29, said Porter.
NickerNews asked the Commissioner's office about filling the vacancy. Said Porter: "For the process of hiring a new Director for the Animal Welfare Program, we will follow the standard procedures that govern filling vacancies in state government."
For years, Worley has come under fire from horse rescue agencies and horse advocates for her program's regular inaction when faced with the state's neglected and abused equine population.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
For me, maintaining a website and blog posting regularly is a task easily interrupted by more urgent matters.
“Urgent matters” come in all shapes and sizes.
Today, the urgent matter assumed the form of loose horses.
I knew I was taking on a handful when Peppermint came to our place, but breaking out of the paddock in December? When the grass is browner on the other side? I mean really, Peppermint, what’s the point?
The point is I was bored and found it quite entertaining to take a run up to the summer field and hang out with the carpenters (who were renovating a neighbor’s house).
Doubly entertaining to watch you storm across the field and try to bring us home.
Yes, my neighbor’s call interrupted computer work and a cherished cuppa in my favorite coffee shop (10 miles away). I raced home and raced onto the frozen field, dog leash (yes, that is my “loose horse kit”) in hand.
I managed to get a line around Brooke, Peppermint’s accomplice for the afternoon. Knowing Peppermint, I didn’t even bother trying to catch her. Instead, I led Brooke home through the woods and Peppermint followed in a high-energy kind of way.
When we got back to the barn, I closed Brooke and Shea (who had opted NOT to wriggle her big body through the rails) in their stalls and opened the paddock gate nice and wide to welcome back Peppermint.
(Photo at right was taken last winter. For frisky pony video, CLICK HERE)
But the frisky pony wasn’t done thumbing her nose at me. She looked at the open gate and took off up the hill, through the woods, over the stone wall.
She then ran down the neighbor’s field along our fence line. Then she trotted up to the downed rails (the rails she must have pushed, pulled, chewed down – heck if I know), scampered over them, and trotted up to the barn.
That’s a pony for you!
Monday, December 13, 2010
Here in Maine, I know it’s normal to get abnormal weather in December. (And any other time of year, for that matter) But it was still strange to be mucking stalls in a sweatshirt and ungloved hands this morning.
When I crossed a river in Pownal it was spring-thaw swollen: high, muddy, and swift.
The girls ate their hay in one of the paddock’s only dry spots. They look practically surrounded by a moat, don’t they?
Shea had the audacity to drop and roll. Thanks, honey. Happy grooming for me, later.
Miss Ladybug emerged in the kitchen. How does this happen anyway? There must be little ladybug eggs or cocoons somewhere in my cluttered spaces.
Enjoy the mud, y’all!
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Dysfunction continues to be the norm at the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Program, headed by Norma Worley.
Recently, we have heard numerous and repeated calls of alarm around the state:
- AWP called to visit horses in horrific conditions. Nothing done. When inaction becomes the standard instead of the exception, we need to be concerned. And we've been concerned for too many years.
- Effective AWP agents fired. Again, this action seems to be more and more Standard Operating Procedure.
- The revelation that AWP had received complaints against Alexis Ingraham for YEARS and not acted. [Complaints to be posted soon.]
CLICK HERE for articles on equine welfare
To make matters worse, Maine horses haven’t gotten much prosecutorial support from the counties’ District Attorney offices.
Alexis Ingraham got nothing more than a $300 fine for selling a diseased (some might say ‘dying’) horse in Androscoggin County District Court.
In an exponentially more appalling verdict in Lincoln County Superior Court, Don Genthner weasled away from his crimes with a fine, too! Seven horses dead and the miserable bastard gets a $500 fine! Thank you, Lincoln County District Attorneys!
I hope Animal Welfare and the Kennebec County District Attorney’s office can do better for Maine horses when the Ingrahams face the music next month.
Many are calling and emailing the Governor Elect’s office to let him know all is not well with equine welfare in the state. Many are hoping the change of administration will be the WD-40 on the rusted (some might say 'frozen') wheels of justice for Maine’s equines. Whether we voted for LePage or not is irrelevant.
Horses are suffering, first at the hands of their incorrigible owners. Second through AWP’s lack of involvement (some might say 'ineptitude'). And third, at the hands of prosecutors, who repeatedly fail to bring down the proverbial hammer.
Horses deserve better.
Perhaps the best Christmas present you could give Maine horses would be getting involved in improving the situation.
Make calls. Send emails.
Support your local equine rescue.
Editor’s Note: Yes, Maddy Gray is a member of the newly formed Maine Equine Welfare Alliance. No, Maddy Gray is not speaking on MEWA’s behalf. This point of view is strictly a NickerNews stance.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Last month, on the last pasture day of 2010 for my girls, this mammoth, orange ball greeted me as I topped the hill and walked across the field to get the horses.
It was a full moon, of course. And I'm sure many of you witnessed its magnificence, too, as you went about your barn chores.
I love all my barn time really, but the moon's brilliance brought a smile to my face just as I was about the curse the passing of pasture season, the cold rain, and the new season of darkness.
All and all, it still does not suck to be a horse owner.
For all of you with better cameras and better photography skills, my apologies! This photo certainly didn't do it justice.