Friday, February 09, 2007

Gettin' Strangled In Pike County


Hearing the news of a case in Zebulon, Ga where the Department of Agriculture seized 170 horses and dogs sparked my interest for a couple of reasons. My family has raised livestock including horses all my life. Also, I have a good friend who is a state livestock inspector. I casually wondered if the friend was working the case, then my mind passed on to other things.

Last night, sitting at a bar, an acquaintance brought the case back up. Apparently while I was out of town the incident continued to burble and now has escalated to the point where Commissioner Irvin is suggesting arrest warrants be issued.

My bar buddy suggested the government had gone too far. With an air of authority, he explained he had raised horses and the pictures he had seen showed healthy animals. I pointed out I heard some of the horses had "strangles", a highly contagious respiratory disease which requires immediate quarantine and usually destruction of the animal. He said he didn't know about that but it still seemed they had gone too far.

Apparently, one of the farm's neighbors, Cherry Richards, agrees with my friend.

"This isn't even about the animals," Richards said. "This is about communistic government overrunning human rights. It's political.

Well, now. I don't know the details of the case so I am willing to keep an open mind. It's an inflammatory situation but if someone as reserved as Tommy Irvin is calling for warrants, I suspect there may be some fire with that smoke. Y'all down Zebulon way feel free to change my mind.

I will say one thing definitively. If anyone were to ever call my Ag Inspector friend a communist? They would shortly find a cowboy boot up their ass.

8 comments:

Nikki said...

Well, if the photo on this page is one of the Pike Co horses, I beg to differ, because a horse should NEVER Look like that.

Thomas L. Strickland said...

Tommy Irvin doesn't do anything on a whim or without giving a situation fair consideration. He's been at this job for longer than I've been alive. If he says that those animals -- all 99 horses, 67 dogs, 3 rabbits -- weren't receiving "the quality of care that Georgia citizens expect,"* then they weren't. Simple as that.

Beyond that, I would love to see someone call Tommy Irvin a communist in person.

Nicki said...

Some people simply don't like government oversight at all, even when it's reasonable and necessary. Enter comments about "communists" and "rights" and whatnot. And some people who seems pretty reasonable really aren't when it comes to livestock and children.

a) One of the major contentions why Gary Black should have won the Commissioner slot was that Tommy Irvin is extremely conservative in his enforcement -- so conservative that short of a dead animal, or an animal that is in immiment danger of dying, there is no seizure. An example would be the Canine Angels shut down, in which Tommy Irvin sent vaguely threatening ultimatums to the rescue for months and months and months and finally charged the people who ran it -- in other states the owners would have been arrested immediately.

b) There were dead animals in this case. The one in the GERL photo is, on a body scoring system, about a 1 on a scale of 1 to 9. Anything below a 2 is likely to have problems with being fed because their bodies have already partially shut down due to starvation. So an animal in that condition needs to be seized.

c) Tommy Urvin left animals on the property and in the possession of the owner in those cases where it appeared the animals weren't in egregious condition. So, it was a very conservative approach to the problem

Nikki said...

By the by, we just got back from dinner w/ my parents, and a horse trainer that they know actually went to the farm. According to this guy, who isn't an amateur, those horses were definitely a 1 or 2 on the scale, and the dogs were hunting and eating the goats and apparently the horses as well. I haven't heard this anywhere else, but apparently the scuttlebutt is that the guy owns a dog food outfit?

As far as seizing the horses, I'm not sure exactly what the mechanics of the situation are, but my understanding is that they don't get state funds to take people's livestock? So they rely on the equine rescue league? I'm foggy on that point though, so don't quote me.

Ethel Mae Potter said...

I have been to Zebulon a few times, that is one cute old town. I love Zebulon. I got chased by dogs there tho.

Grayson said...

I talked to the PIO at the Dept. of Ag. when this was going down. (I too have relatives who are very "horse" people, so I thought they might be able to volunteer some help.) This was clearly a case of extreme animal abuse, and I'm glad we have a state entity that had the resources to step-in, with the help of anyone out there who wanted to help and get involved, as opposed to just sitting around bitching about government. This was a very successful government model in action, whereby the government did exactly what it CAN do: defend the life and liberty of those (happened to be creatures in this case) who were completely unable to defend themselves in life-threatening situation.

The "government" (Remember, that's US, you rhetoric-spouting retards)was soliciting help and aid from anyone who gave enough of a shit to help these animals.

Anonymous said...

nikki, the photo you linked to is NOT one of the Pike Co. impounded horses, but be assured that these horses needed to be impounded. I work with them daily, so I know what I'm talking about. They are all stalled, getting clean water, feed, bedding and veterinary care. I cannot comment with further details because the legal case is pending.
However, we need volunteers! And monetary donations - remember - the state does not fund these impounds! Please spread the word that even though the state now has these animals, due to the sheer number, we need man(woman)power at the impound barn!

griftdrift said...

Thanks Anon. See new post with details on how people can volunteer and make a donation.