A weanling we estimated was caked with 50-60 pounds of dried manure.
A mare with badly deformed feet
Bobber was adopted and moved up north
Riptide, a weanling filly, was the first adopted, despite an eye
Another adoptee, Sweet Pea, and her owner
|On Jan. 1, 1998, Horses' Haven assisted the Michigan
Anti-Cruelty Society with the rescue of 57 horses from the farm of
James and Susan Knotts in the Davison, Michigan area. We gathered
horsemen and trailers all in one location. After a short prayer
asking that the horses be delivered safely into our hands, in a
convoy, we proceeded to the site, not knowing what we would find.
The conditions were deplorable. Manure in stalls was 71" deep; the
horses were wedged between the manure and the ceiling. All of the
stalls and outer walls had been chewed through. Some younger horses
had never been moved from the stalls they had been born in. The roof
on the broodmares' run-in barn had collapsed, trapping several, who
then had no access to food or water. Yearling babies were still
nursing. One weanling had a severely lacerated eye. The feet on all
the horses were bad: many hooves so long that they curled over the
top of themselves. Outside pens were only large enough for one horse
and were full of manure. Some contained two horses. Two older
stallions were contained in one stall. Almost all horses, even
babies, were caked in manure. The phrase "caked in manure" doesn't
really paint the picture. As we were looking at these pitiful
creatures, we heard a strange noise. It sounded as though someone
had many strands of heavy ceramic beads clacking against one
another. We looked around to find a baby in the adjacent stall
swishing what was left of its tail. The clacking noise made by big
beads of the petrified manure on his tail. This stuff was like
Volunteers representing ALL breeds of horses brought trailers and
experienced horse people to help. The first tour through the
property brought total silence and tears as we looked at the horror
before us. Often there were six men on a horse just to move it out
of its pen because it couldn't or wouldn't walk. Horses were led--
and some of them got their first haltering and leading lessons--
down a grassy hill as the driveway was steep and deeply rutted.
Trailers were waiting at the bottom of the hill.
Some horses who couldn't walk and had never seen a trailer took over
an hour to load; volunteers urging them every baby step of the way,
and letting them rest occasionally. One beautiful mare took three
days to load. Even so, several volunteers fell in love with her and
offered to adopt her. Some horses never did get halters on, but we
got them into stock trailers on Tuesday and Wednesday. One of the
neighbors brought over a bulldozer to level the ruts by the barn so
one trailer at a time could get up the hill and back up to one of
Horses outside in the larger paddocks had to be lassoed on Monday.
Volunteers willingly came back on both Monday and Tuesday to
complete the job, refusing to give up until all horses were rescued.
We also rescued three cats.
The rescue was successful, although it took us three days to remove
the horses instead of one day. Many of these horses had never been
haltered or handled in any way, and some were very wild. Of course,
most did not want to leave their home because they didn't know there
was any better place.
Volunteers who were waiting at the barn that was to house the horses
sobbed as each trailer arrived and the horses slowly and painfully
unloaded. Horses were put in freshly bedded stalls, some looking at
the shavings and wondering what it was. Water was slurped and
slurped-- a far cry from the frozen buckets they were used to
seeing, and there was plentiful hay. The horses were fed hay at
their old farm so they were lean but not in bad body condition. They
started to relax and let volunteers touch them. On Friday, farriers
and vets came to assess the horses and begin to bring them back to
health. Many of the long hooves were completely trimmed, making the
horses much more comfortable. We estimated upwards of $10,000.00 a
month to keep, feed and care for these animals, including farrier
and vet bills.
+ 57 Horses Rescued
+ 2 Born at Horses' Haven
- 18 Euthanized at Horses' Haven
- 2 At Michigan State - 1 Euthanized; 1 died
- 31 Adopted out as of 10/1/98
The Adoption Committee did an incredible job; horses were placed all
over Michigan. Debbie Morgan and Doris Knight spent hour after hour
checking videos, references and either they or the members of their
committee (Jan Harrison, Terri Caroselli, Susan Kuntzman, Patience
Miller) visited and inspected farms and barns. "It was worse than
being interviewed by the Gestapo," one prospective adopter said, but
was overjoyed when she was approved and got the horse of her choice.
Debbie made certain that EVERY horse went to the best possible home,
and with the stories that are coming back about how loved these
horses are, she and her whole committee should take pride in a job
exceptionally well done.
The Hon. Judith Fullerton, Genesee County Circuit Court, sentenced
James and Susan Knotts to the following: one year in the County
Jail, 500 hours each of Community Service, 5 years Probation,
Restitution of Expenses on the horses through February 16, 1998, and
not allowed to own ANY animal again. The first test for horses of
the new Animal Abuse Act was very successful.