Collaborating to help Colorado animals in need

Would you know what to do if you had to catch a horse? What if that horse had been mistreated, neglected or largely unhandled by humans? It can be a daunting task, even for people with experience handling animals, but it’s one that often happens in equine cruelty and neglect cases.

Recognizing just how daunting catching and removing horses from a property can be, the Colorado Humane Society, a program of the Dumb Friends League, hosted a training session at the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center to help animal control officers across the state gain experience handling these strong, powerful and sometimes frightened equines.

Twenty-five animal control or protection officers from sheriff’s offices, police departments, animal services departments and nonprofit humane societies came from as far away as Pueblo and Snowmass to attend the training in which Colorado Humane Society agents and Harmony Equine Center trainers shared their knowledge and expertise.

The day-long program, designed for everyone from experienced horse handlers to novices with little to no equine experience, included hands-on training and scenario-based seizure training.

Using a life-sized model horse and real-life horses at Harmony, attendees worked on catching, haltering, leading and trailer loading—all necessary handling skills if horses must be removed from an owner’s property in a cruelty or neglect case.

After working on their horse-handling skills, attendees were split up into groups and given the following scenario – four horses are on a property and a concerned neighbor reports that the horses are thin, and nobody has been on the property to care for them recently.

Each group came up with an action plan to determine how to best move forward with the neglect report. The groups worked on everything from how to locate and contact the owner to what kind of care they were able to provide the horses while still on the property and what needed to be presented to a district attorney in order to obtain a warrant for searches and seizures.

Colorado Humane Society agents and Harmony Equine Center Director Garret Leonard stressed the importance of proper documentation from the first visit to the moment the horses leave the property. This not only gives Harmony as much information about the horses prior to arriving, but the best chance of winning a case when it goes to court.

At the Dumb Friends League we truly value this type of collaboration. As a Socially Conscious Animal Shelter, it is our goal to create the best possible outcomes for all animals. By working with law enforcement, we can create a true partnership where an animal’s well-being is considered throughout the investigation and, hopefully, pet owners are held accountable when necessary.

Click here to learn how Socially Conscious Animal Sheltering is helping improve the lives of animals across the country.

Visit the Colorado Humane Society website to report suspected animal cruelty or neglect and to learn more about how they investigate animal welfare cases.