On Christmas Eve, one of our 5th Ward Rescue feeders came upon this scene in the rain. Where a horse had been tethered to a telephone pole, and managed to wrap herself around it enough times to shorten the length. In order to move around, she had to stand in a ditch. She stood there, said one witness, for"2 or 3 days".
By yelling and screaming and calling the police, the volunteers were able to get the HPD to send someone out, as the SPCA and HHS people were off for the holidays. (The emergency cruelty phone number was on voicemail). Two very nice policemen came out and forced the caretaker to put her back into his own yard or face a fine. This girl was finally able to move around again. The 5WRescue bought hay for her and she was eventually moved to the owner's friends' farm (or so they said).
Not so lucky for the horse that was discovered dead in a ditch today, in the 5th Ward (Link to Graphic Photo; view at your own peril).
During the Christmas Eve incident, HPD said that the residents of the area do this kind of thing" all the time". By that they mean that instead of being fed hay and feed, the owners tether the horses in vacant lots to graze, and move them around every couple of days to avoid getting cited. I know that at first, no one would admit to knowing who owned Mercedes. But eventually, the caretaker showed up when he saw the HPD officers with the horse untethered, I presume he thought they were confiscating the horse. In the days after Mercedes was moved, volunteers continued to notice horses in lots, tethered without hay or water, and moved around on an irregular basis. They all had ribs showing, or hips jutting out. One even had an "open case" on it, according to one humane group, and they were attempting to find the owner. There are many horses in that area. More that you would think, being inside the city limits.
Today's horse died a horrible grisly death. One that would have befallen Mercedes had the rescuers not intervened. She was tethered to a pole, and managed to wrap herself around the pole enough times so that she choked to death in the ditch. She might have been afraid from the recent storms. But she had pulled the tether tight enough to cause bleeding on her neck and she died in bloody misery.
This is a residential area, folks, not an isolated paddock in the country. Someone saw this horse struggling. Someone saw this horse die. Probably many someones. No one did a single thing to help her. I will never understand this.
Overworked-understaffed-underbudgeted-not-my-department-and-oh-by-the-way-this-is-Texas-and-we-do-what-we-want-with-our-property aside, this is the suckiest thing I have ever seen. And I am ashamed that humans allowed this to happen. In 2012. In a freaking metropolitan city, Oil Patch, USA. I am ashamed of Texans, and Houstonians.
Well, here is my Texas showing; This ain't over. Not by a damn site.
But I do want someone just to tell me why, until now, "it happens all the time" has been a reason not to do anything about it. It is not enough anymore. It should never have been.