Dear Porky Buddy,
This is not a dog or cat question, but I think it is important. On my way to work every morning I drive by a pasture where I can see some horses off in the distance sort of in the woods. They are there every single morning no matter how cold or rainy or windy it is. There is a barn on the property, but it doesn’t look to me that the horses are ever taken into the barn. Is this right? I don’t think horses should be treated like this.
Thanks, first of call, for taking an interest in these horses.
You are right that issues involving the care of horses are different from cats and dogs.
Think of the “Wild West” where wild horses spend their whole lives outdoors finding whatever food and shelter they can on their own. The point being that horses don’t need as much shelter as a lot of other domestic animals. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need some shelter (or that we should all subscribe to the “ethics,” so to speak, of the Wild West concerning treatment of animals).
It is hard to tell from your letter whether the situation for these horses is unacceptable.
Your alternatives to find out are several.
First, do you know the people who own the horses well enough to just talk to them as a neighbor and express your concern? Maybe they will tell you that the horses do go in the barn at night but are let out early in the morning. Maybe there is some sort of windbreak back in the woods where they can go for shelter when they need it.
All horses need is a three-sided run-in shed with a roof and a place to stand that is not muddy, together with access to food and water.
That is only a minimum and many horses have far better shelter than that, which is a good thing, but a healthy horse with its winter coat will be ok.
If direct contact is not an option and you can see that the horses do not appear to have adequate food and water, then call 911, (explain that it is not an emergency,) report the situation and ask law enforcement to investigate. They will and then call in other resources if they find a problem.
If you just can’t see enough to justify such a report, call the Oswego County Humane Society at 207-1070 or email them at email@example.com for help from the Large Animal Assistance Project.
A volunteer from the project will go to the property to take a look, and, if necessary, will contact the owner to assess the situation and find out whether the owner may need some help or advice about adequate care of the horses.
The LAAP will also call in law enforcement if that is appropriate. Remember that the LAAP operates entirely with volunteer assistance, so be patient.
Speaking of volunteer assistance, since you appear to be a horse lover and advocate, why not talk to our LAAP coordinator about volunteer opportunities for you?
It’s a big job, but totally rewarding, and the project always needs knowledgeable horse people to help.
You can find out more about what is involved by calling the Humane Society at 207-1070 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Because people and pets are good for each other!