After a trip to the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area and experiencing the thrill of seeing horses in the wild, we realized there may be others who wish to observe unbound Mustangs. So armed with our cameras, binoculars, maps and 4WD we will venture into these wild and rugged places. Within these electronic pages we will share what is out there… Where The Wild Horses Are… living life naturally. Exploring also some of the places they come to be when removed from these management areas.

The posts contain many photos, click on them to enlarge for more clarity, but please do not copy or reproduce without permission. email us. Thank you for visiting and we hope you enjoy the trip!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Do We Have Laws?

If they are not enforced.

Press Release from Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition.

June 30, 2011 – The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition (MHWC) wishes to express extreme disappointment with the decision by the Allegan County Prosecutor’s office today not to pursue any animal cruelty charges in the case of 25 wild Mustangs owned by Wendy Bierling in Allegan. The prosecuting attorney’s decision comes despite investigating officer Sgt. Kuhn’s recommendation of 16 counts of animal cruelty.

During a May 22nd visit to Bierling’s farm, MHWC representatives witnessed what they felt to be a clear-cut case of animal neglect under the definition of Michigan ’s anti-cruelty statute, and contacted Allegan County law enforcement to express their concern for the horses’ welfare. MCL 750.50 requires that animals receive adequate care, defined as “sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state good health.” The statute further defines “neglect” as failure to “sufficiently and properly care for an animal to the extent that the animal’s health is jeopardized.”

The visit from MHWC representatives was a standard site inspection upon receiving Bierling’s application for assistance through the coalition’s Hay Bank. The request was for hay to feed 25 of the original 29 wild Mustangs shipped to Bierling in February of 2011 from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which had rounded up the horses in California the previous August. All of the Mustangs shipped to Bierling were over the age of eleven.

After assisting with the removal of a horse that was later assessed a body condition score of one – the lowest score a horse can have and still be alive -- the MHWC confirmed with Bierling’s own veterinarian that Bierling had never requested his own assessment or treatment of that horse.

The MHWC provide investigators with an abundance of evidence showing what they felt to be neglect, including photos, veterinarian reports, and multiple eyewitness reports – all showing that Bierling was allegedly not feeding the horses or providing veterinary care.

“Whether the horses came off the truck sick or not, that was over four months ago. The bottom line is, these horses weren’t getting enough to eat. Any horse will starve if they do not have food, and sick horses will continue to decline without veterinary care. That’s why these provisions are mandated by law. But what good are laws if they’re not enforced?” says Jodi Louth, MHWC Hay Bank Coordinator.

“By failing to address what appears to be a clear case of animal neglect, Allegan County is essentially condoning such neglect and even encouraging it to continue. There is absolutely nothing to prevent Wendi Bierling from receiving another shipment of 29 mustangs, and we just hope that Allegan County officials are prepared to deal with it when that happens,” continues Louth.

Jill Fritz, MHWC secretary, adds: “The neglect of any animal, including horses, is explicitly prohibited under Michigan 's animal cruelty statute. Financial hardship or lack of knowledge about proper horse care is not an excuse to ignore the law.” She continued, “Michiganders care about animals and want those who neglect or abuse them to be held accountable. The Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition hopes that the Allegan County will join other county prosecuting attorneys who are aggressively pursuing charges against those who harm animals in our state.”

The MHWC and its Hay Bank were founded in January 2010 and has since helped to feed over 101 horses throughout Michigan .

photo by Jodi Louth

For more information, please visit Michigan Horse Welfare Coalition.

This is obviously an outrage! This is small town midwest politics. If we all just look away it will blow over and the horses will all just disappear, the voiceless and innocent who always suffer, then it will be business as usual for Wendi Bierling to continue her domestic "Mustang breeding program".

Please call the Prosecutor in this case and express your outrage.
269/673-0280  Prosecuting Attorney Fred Anderson

Also visit Humane Observer blog for more information and ways to become involved.


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