Great news!! Three of the five horses seized from Thiry in September have been rehabilitated by the Dane County Humane Society and are available for adoption! Lady, Ruby and Rebecca have gained a tremendous amount of weight and are much healthier and happier now. I very much hope that any doubters out there will now recognize that these horses were NOT thin "just because they're old/sick" (lame and utterly wrong excuses) but because of the awful neglect they experienced in Barb Thiry's hands. Lady in particular, a mare that was "too old" to gain weight, is doing so much better now.
The two stallions remain in foster care and may still be returned to Thiry after her trial is over, if she continues to pay the court for the cost of their upkeep. Thiry herself continues to deny that she ever did anything wrong. In an interview with the Clintonville Chronicle, she claimed, "I've been victimized by these bullies and then by the county who came and took my property and my animals." She has threatened to sue Waupaca County, has demanded the return of all of her horses by Christmas, and believes they are worth thousands of dollars each, despite their health issues and the advanced age of 3 of them. Read more about Barb Thiry's delusions here (scroll down a bit).
Update 11/13/13: Thiry's trial continues- read more here.
UPDATE: See pictures of Barb Thiry's property in 2009 here. Warning: these disturbing images show unburied horse skeletons and other dead animals.
I am so very, very happy. Barb Thiry, long-time animal hoarder and horse neglecting bitch, has finally been charged!! She's charged with 15 counts of animal mistreatment, failing to provide shelter, and failing to provide food. 15 counts is 3 for each horse she currently owns. Each is a class A misdemeanor, the punishment for which may include a fine up to $10,000, or imprisonment for up to 9 months, or both. YEEESSSSSSSssssss!!!!!!!!
If you somehow missed the story behind this case, you can read about it here. More news coverage should be coming out about this story. Mary Hetzel of Saint Francis Horse Rescue did two phone interviews on this case today, and an update was posted on ABC 2WBAY. Of course, I will be keeping you informed about her trial and sentencing, and most importantly, what happens to her horses. While the horses are currently on a new farm and being fed, it would be awesome if Thiry were ordered to relinquish ownership. I'll let you know what happens! (I also hope to publish pictures of the horrible conditions and dead animals at one of Thiry's past residences.)
Thiry's first court hearing will take place this month, on Tuesday October 15th at 1:30pm. It wouldn't be a bad idea to be there to show officials we're serious about this case. If you go, please be respectful of court officials.
The Honorable Philip M. Kirk
Circuit Court Judge, Br. 1
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding St.
Waupaca, WI 54981
The Honorable John P. Hoffmann
Circuit Court Judge, Br. 2
Waupaca County Courthouse
811 Harding St.
Waupaca, WI 54981
Feel free to use the following script if you have trouble figuring out what to say:
"Your honor, I am writing to you today about case #2013WP001459, where Barb Thiry has been charged with 15 counts related to her neglect of five horses near Clintonville. I am asking you to consider several factors when hearing her case. Barb Thiry has a long history of animal hoarding and neglect. She continues to believe that none of her animals has ever suffered or been underweight. Because of her repeated mistreatment of animals and denial of any wrongdoing, she is very likely to neglect animals again. Please consider ordering her to give up her animals to a reputable horse rescue, and order her to have no more animals in the future. Please also consider making her sentence a heavy one, in order to send a clear message to Barb Thiry and others that mistreating innocent animals is not an insubstantial crime."
Yours sincerely, ________
Oh, and yes, we should thank the Waupaca Count Sheriff's Dept. Despite much longer delays than we would have liked, in the end, they came through. It's also important for the image of the animal welfare world that we do more than push, protest and antagonize (however warranted those actions are). We should also thank authorities when they do the right thing. Remember, positive reinforcement works! You can call, send doughnuts, or write to:
Waupaca County Sheriffs Department
1402 Royalton St Waupaca, WI 54981
...or visit the Waupaca Co Sheriff's Dept Facebook page.
Of course, we all know who the real heroes in this case were. Yes, YOU were. YOU, who called, emailed, networked, protested, wrote letters and never stopped fighting, despite weeks and months of little progress. This is truly an example of what citizens can do when they work together!
Okay, before we go, there's a bit more news I feel you should know about.
First of all, let's talk about our neighbors here in the north. As you might remember from my last blog post, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska were hit by freak storms. Those storms came hours or days earlier than expected, leaving ranchers scrambling to save vulnerable horses and cattle. Those critters were on summer pastures without shelter, and they hadn't yet grown thick winter coats. The bad weather started with rain and tornadoes, and then quickly became a blizzard that dumped feet of snow on unprepared farms. Winds of 70mph were pretty common. Farmers tried to save their horses and cows even as they lost power, had their barns ripped apart by high winds, or were stuck on roads closed even to emergency vehicles. However, they were fighting a losing battle. Many ranchers lost 50% of their livestock. If you've got any spare cash or hay, consider sending it thataway. My prayers go out to them.
Next up, a man in the city of Detroit bought a horse at a flea market and is keeping it in his backyard. No, of course he doesn't have proper fences. Yes, he IS feeding her inappropriately, including giving her dozens of apples at a time. No, he doesn't have a single fucking clue. *facepalm*
Finally, in a very interesting reversal, the Navajo Nation has decided to stop supporting horse slaughter. Previously, the tribes that make up the nation had been mostly pro-slaughter, even rounding up wild horses to sell to the highest bidder. Now they say that while they are still worried about the ecological impact of feral horses, as well as the well-being of uncared for feral horses, they would rather find more humane ways to control the mustang population. They are looking into equine birth control, adoption, land management and public education. Good for them! You can read more here.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly made the following statement:
That's all for now folks. Stay tuned to Northhorse.org for more equine news.