Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mary Loeffelholz is a Scumbitch + Official Apathy

Reader Carol asked me to re-post this stunning case of official stupidity involving a neglect case, and I totally agree that it's worth broadcasting. First, though, I'd like to remind every single horse owner out there: when you're selling or giving away a horse, USE A CONTRACT -- one like this that specifies that you get first rights to buy back the horse if the new owner ever wants to sell (or give it away). Some contracts even state that the previous owner shall have the right to inspect  the new owner's horse and property at any time, and describes the minimum care the horse has to receive. I don't know if that part is legally enforceable... but the buy-back clause is. If you don't spend five minutes signing this little piece of paper, your horse could end up like THIS, and there's legally nothing you can do about it:

Mary Loeffelholz of Belleville, WI, is the scumbitch responsible for this cruelty. She got horses from careless people who'd got horses from decent people who'd given those horses away...without a buy-back contract. However, it's the local officials who have been letting this crap continue. They've been scolding Mary to "do better" with her 20 horses for 4+ years, but not actually taking real any legal action against her, much less getting the starving horses out of her hands.

Cheri Carr, Dane County Humane Officer, had issued an abatement order to Loeffelholz in 2008. It ordered her simply to provide regular food and water to her animals-- an order she appealed! (Her appeal failed after even her own mother testified against her.) However, that order expired in May 2011, and nothing was done since then.

Several news articles, here and here have made much of the fact that eight of the starving equines are now off of Mary's property, but what they fail to mention is that that's not really the doing of the officials themselves.

Several previous owners of the horses showed up and just plain took four of them. After making them take the horses back to their abuser, officials finally sort of acted when faced with the wrath of the would-be rescuers. One of those horses was put into protective custody, and the cops convinced scumbitch Mary to surrender seven more.The was also partially due to the heroic efforts of Madison lawyer Cynthia Fiene, who has been trying to get someone to do something for years. (I hear she has a website, but I can't find it-- if you know it, please share!)

However, there are still twelve starving critters in Mary's hands-- though she's moved them to her sister's place, where she probably hopes everyone will forget about them. Which the cops probably will, because they're still not making any legal moves against her, despite apparently agreeing that the horses needed to get out of there. No shit Sherlocks.

The cops are making the usual excuses about how long the legal process is to seize animals, etc...but come ON, it really takes more than four years?! Bullshit. Doug Vogeli, Director of Environmental Health Division, had more excuses:

- The cost of boarding, feeding and caring for so many large animals "is an issue." Wait, you mean the cost of caring for animals that several people have screamed about saving and are already willing to take care of? And how is it that we can spend millions of dollars giving convicted criminals health care, cable tv and workout equipment, but we can't spend a dime on helping tortured animals? Finally, don't we have animal control and humane societies for exactly this purpose?

- "The standard of care may not be what other people would want the horses to be kept at but the minimum standards were being met," says Doug. But isn't the decision of whether the minimum standards are being met a judgement call? Animal control does have to follow the law, but when you're looking at a law that says, "food must be present," and you see a pile of moldy straw, how about deciding that it's not really food?! Basically, the cops just don't want to push this case.

 I'd like to start working on writing a bill that would create stricter standards for animal care, and another that would allow officials to seize animals faster. Is there anyone out there with legal experience that could help? Who do you think might sponsor such a bill?

If you're upset about this situation, you can do the following:

Contact Doug Voegeli, and tell him to take real action: dvoegeli@publichealthmdc.com (608) 243-0360
Call Patrick Comfert, Animal Services Leadworker: 608-243-0309
Call Patrick's Boss,  Beth Cleary, Program Manager, Animal Services Unit: 608- 243-0327

Contact everybody's boss, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, at:
City County Building Rm 421, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Madison WI 53703, 608-266-4114
Contact the Belleville Police Department and urge them to follow up on the case.
Contact the Oregon Horse Association, and tell them to spread the word among their members; neglected horses need homes, push the officials to prosecute, and never do business with Mary Loeffelholz!


  1. I don't know who you are, but YOU ROCK! All great information. I have 1 point to add that not too many people know. The night that the horses were forced back (on 5/3), Mary's personal vet was also on the scene. I stood right there as he scored them at a 1, but then commented that they just came out of winter and didn't look all that bad. That was my breaking point. As someone who screwed her chance to go to vet school (yes, a stupid boy) and would give anything to have a second chance, it was the most horrifying statement ever! IMO, he has no right to hold a license and call himself a Dr. His name, btw, is Renee Reynolds (sp?) and he is out of Brooklyn.
    I am working directly with Attourney Fiene and the rest of the core group of people. The response as of late with all of the news coverage has been wonderful. I can't believe that with all of the voices being added that it will continue. If it does, then there really is a flaw in the system.
    I am in charge of getting the DNR involved (did you know her "pasture" is in a watershed that dumps into DNR land?). I am also working with the person setting up our website. There are a few more tweeks to be done and then I will come back to post the address.
    You reiterate how the powers that be say they have no where to go with them or funds to care for them... It is the saddest excuse I have ever heard too. We do have foster homes standing at the ready for each and every one and we also have begun efforts to raise money for their care until they can be adopted as well as more awareness efforts.
    I am going to pass this on to the group. I'm sure once we can get this situation rectified, most (if not all) of us would be willing to help with your legislation proposal. I know I'm in!:)
    PS-Great point about housing criminals!
    PSS-LOVE the new name you came up with. lol
    Amy Zwicker

  2. Fantastic, thanks Amy!! Please please let us know about the website, and anything we can do to help. I tried looking up Rene Reynolds, and while I see that he's a vet, he doesn't appear to actually be working at any clinic. So when you say he's the Scumbitch's "personal vet," that sounds about right-- totally on her payroll!

  3. Copy of an email to John Beard, Doug Voegeli and Joe Parisi from Cynthia Fiene regarding the WKOW news story from May 9th. I was asked to post all over.

    If they are owners, Susan and Theresa, why are they not also charged with neglect???? I want to know why the County has not charged these people with neglect. I am getting letters from Vets that these horses rated at a 1.0 are abused and they should be punished. What a bunch of bullshit.
    Doug, you can expect my open records request tomorrow going back to 2004 as I met with a man who took in Mary’s horses in 2004 and counseled her about their care through the 4H and horse and pony. Mary and Mindy brought the 3 saddle breeds from Illinois in 2005 and had not registered them as it cost $500.00 per animal. So, now they quickly registered them?
    ( John, you need to include Melinda “Mindy” Gehin in this, she CURRENTLY works for Barry Stables and she should know what a horse should be fed and the care that they need. She is Mary’s 25 year old daughter. 1/2/1987 dob) There was a complaint in 2006 on these horses. I have the pictures of them in 2006. When is this bullshit going to stop?
    Doug, Make no mistake, you and they cannot lie fast enough to cover this up. The horse community is pissed off and we will be putting together a rally on this matter, I will ask for permits by week’s end. I have had more calls from horse people that are absolutely horrified at the lack of the county’s actions in this matter and the lies that have been fed to all of those concerned for these poor animals. Patrick, Mary, Mindy, her sisters and you might all be stupid, but these people are not. This is Mary’s MO, claim they belong to someone else and move them out of sight. This has been going on for far too long. We will be in front of your office, Mary’s sisters houses and the County Execs office.
    I will not give up on this, I promised those horses a better life. YOU really fail to see that these people are all crazy hoarders. Who could watch these animals starve for years and not take action? The horses were at Walters road in 2008 and the Public Health has records that they were not feed there so you allow them to go back? Are you out of your mind too?
    We have not talked but we need too. Dane County dumped their neglect into Green County to Susan Schult (Lance) W5117 Airport Road, New Glarus, WI"

    Now, in response to the above.....he doesn't work anywhere? WTF???? I swear I find out more strange things with this daily! Anyway, I have all the info I need for the site to get finished, just need to get it organized. It will include the names and numbers of all of the people that can be contacted over and over until maybe they get tired of being bombarded.:) I will also come back to post info about when the rally is and any other events.
    Oh yeah, Cynthia wanted to be sure the names of Mary Loeffelholz and Melinda "Mindy" Gehin were out there so that NO ONE gave them any more by mistake.

  4. It absolutely flabergast's me that it has taken YEARS to do as little as has been done for these horses!! It's so totally obvious that it should have been HOURS, not day's, weeks, or even months, to remove ALL of the horses from the possession of Mary L!!!!! The "officials" keep saying that they have to "follow procedure!!" If that's the case, the "procedure's" need to be changed, no doubt about it! Totally mind-blowing that this situation has gone on for as long as it has!!! Clearly these "officials" have their head's up their ass's!!!