Progress has been made on the care of six sickly horses being kept on Highway 49 near San Andreas.
Agriculture Commissioner Jerry Howard said he´s been in touch with the horse owner and the landowner, both of whom live outside the county, although he´s not releasing their names.
“The landowner is anxious for the owner of the horses to get them off his property,” Howard said.
Friday the horse owner came to the county to release custody of a horse that was seized for trespassing on Thursday, he said. They “either cannot afford to redeem it or chose not to. It will be available for adoption soon,” Howard said.
As for the other horses, “We´ve had discussions about the requirements that they need to follow in order to get the horses back into acceptable condition,” Howard said. “At least at this point we have a verbal commitment to do so. Now they have a local person feeding the animals on a regular basis.”
That local person is a neighbor, who wants to remain anonymous.
“They´re not bad people,” the neighbor said of the horse owners. “They´re just needing some help. … They got in a car wreck and don´t have a car.”
“I´m doing what I´m supposed to do,” he said. “I believe God takes care of all of us.”
A concern of some local animal officials is that people trying to help out, aside from what this neighbor is doing, may actually be hurting the horse.
“If people are not feeding the right combination of feed, they could cause the animals significant upset,” Howard said. “That would absolutely not be good for the horses, especially if there´s a local caretaker.”
Howard also wanted to clear the air on some people´s impression that he may not be doing all that he can.
“The horses are personal property,” he said. “They´re owned by somebody. We as a regulatory agency have to expressly follow the law so we preserve the rights of all people. People sometimes get understandably quite emotional over these kinds of situations. But we still are obligated to preserve everybody´s rights and follow the letter of the law.
“My best recommendation is just let us do our job,” he said. “50 more phone calls (about a situation) we´re well aware of only detracts from our available time to get this and our other work done.”
Reprinted with permission from the Calaveras Enterprise
Contact at Vanessa Turner