What do I do now?
By Alan McDermott
You are out and about and you see what looks like an abused or starving horse. You don’t want to get anybody in trouble, but the poor animal needs help. You could call 911, but this isn’t an emergency. So whom do you call? If you know where you are, local law enforcement would be the answer. But if you are not sure as to if you are inside a city limit or not? Then the County Sheriff should be contacted. A list of all the county sheriffs can be found at www.alabamasheriffs.com with names and phone numbers.
I called a few to see what they would do if I wanted to report an abused horse. While what they can do varies from county to county, they all said they would take the information and send a deputy out to investigate.
It is not unusual for an old horse to loose weight and look poor. And as one deputy told me, we try and get the owner to do right by the horse because if we put the owner in jail, the horse isn’t going to get feed anyway. The bottom line is your call will be taken seriously and they will find the owner and do what they can for the horse.
I said above the “what they can do varies.” What I meant by that is some counties have an animal control that can take large animals and owners surrender them when they can no longer take care of them. Other counties have rescues that take in horses.
Lastly there is at the State level in Montgomery at the Bureau of Investigation an Agricultural and Rural Crimes Unit at 855-75Crime (27463). They are only 10 investigators to cover the State. But they are another source for help when you see a horse in distress.