Before I begin, I want to very briefly address two topics:
Some people have said that's it is "karma" that the two notorious Pleasant Prairie WI horse abusers were just found dead after a fire. I understand the sentiment. However, the idea that the universe or God or the devil has anything to do with justice in our mortal world is dangerous and utterly false. The only thing that guarantees whether or not a horse is saved, if an abuser is put on trial, or if neglect is allowed to continue, is YOU. You and I, our neighbors, our fellow humans are the only ones who can change laws, pressure authorities, lend a helping hand, donate hay, etc. We must not leave things up to karma, or to chance. God helps those who help themselves. WE must be the forces of kindness and justice. Remember that next time you hear about or see a neglect situation.
"Bashing on People Doesn't Help Horses"
I'm about to expose some neglectful Wisconsin horse owners on this blog post, and no doubt some readers will be upset about that. You should know, however, that it's not vindictive, and it's not because I think I'm perfect. Far from it! God knows I've been broke, depressed, and in need of a helping hand. I've had horses I should have done more for sooner. My farm is pretty rough. However, I'm not "bashing" on people who are just down on their luck, or just had one or two bad incidents. My posts are about the chronic cases, the ones who never learn their lessons year after year. The public shouldn't be enabling people with a long history of neglect and hoarding, and I consider it part of my purpose to warn you about them. By giving money to these folks, by giving them sympathy, you may help a couple of horses for a little while-- but you also make it possible for the hoarders to continue hoarding and mistreating animals. And by NOT telling others about the misdeeds of scammers, abusers, and their ilk, you are harming horses. There's no need to gossip idly, but when you know something ugly, DO warn others nearby so that their hears and their horses aren't forever scarred by the evil they could have avoided.
OK, let's get started.
Atty Cynthia Fiene: Brooklyn Horse Abuser is Back!
Wisconsin attorney and horse rescue crusader Cynthia Fiene would like me to pass on a message to you all: the serial horse abuser Mary A. Loeffelholz (dob 10/1964) and Mary's daughter Melinda (Mindy) Gehin, are back to their old tricks again near Brooklyn/Belleville WI. You can read my original blog posts on their horrific deeds here and here, but here's a picture of one of their former horses that basically sums up the situation:
...and there are eleven horses like that on the property right now. I guarantee you, folks, the officials who have let this continue for YEARS will turn a blind eye unless we ACT. I know I am constantly asking you to call, write, and email about these situations, but public pressure is the only thing that seems to save horses from long, slow deaths here in Wisconsin. So please, please, contact one of the following people and say,
"Hi, I'm calling about the very thin horses near Brooklyn belonging to Mary Loeffelholz and her daughter Mindy. What are you doing about this situation?"Call Patrick Comfert, Animal Services Leadworker: 608-243-0309
Doug Voelgi at Public Health 608-243-0360 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi 608-266-2444
Town of Oregon executives Jerry Bollig
608-835-7520 and Denise Arnold 608-835-3200
April Roelke, residing on County Rd A near Grand Marsh WI, has been getting a lot of media sympathy over the death of one of her horses, Eagle. Eagle was found shot this week in his "pasture" (small front yard pen). No one knows if this was a revenge shooting (April apparently liked to trap and shoot neighborhood cats) or a "mercy killing."
Eagle was starving when he was shot. Even in the picture shown by the media, you can see how his backbone stuck up and the top shelf of his ribs were visible. Several people, including a neighbor, have told me that April has starved several horses to death over the past couple of years. Some of her own pics on Facebook seem to confirm this:
While I do not condone vigilante justice, I don't think you should be donating money or horses to this woman. You might also want to contact Channel 3000 and tell them to delete or re-write their sob story. 608-273-3333.
Former Faux Rescue Seeks Homes for Horses
I am very glad that Cindy and Jim Bondowski are finally relinquishing their horses. Cindy is working closely with Kathy Bries, who has posted several ads to rehome the horses; you can see at least five horses below (click on the pics to enlarge). This is a fairly urgent situation, as the Bondowskis are being evicted and must be gone by April 1st. Call Cindy at 608-322-4068 if you can adopt.
Before you contact the Bondowskis, however, I feel that it's my duty to tell you how they got where they are. If they ask you for donations of any kind, or want to make a deal with you, please be aware of their history.
The Bondowskis, Jim and Cindy, used to have a rescue in Footville WI (near Janseville) called H.O.R.S.E. The "rescue" was more like a hoarding situation, with 40-60 horses on 3 acres.
I'm sure Cindy and Jim meant well to begin with, but they took on way more horses than they could take care of. Many local people reported thin, wormy horses with overgrown hooves on the property. Cindy purposefully bred a mare suffering with severe DSLD so her daughter could have the foal. Vet and farrier bills went unpaid, and though the Bondowskis asked for cash donations, they never got 501(c)3 nonprofit status. They maxed out retirement funds, credit cards, etc and were behind on their taxes. Jim collected disability, though he attempted to work as an untrained and unlicensed (illegal) horse chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist. Those who saw him work expressed serious concerns about his methods.
In Nov 2010 Jim and Cindy had a big barn fire, in which 24 horses died. Also burned up were most of the tack and all of the hay. Many people volunteered to help, donated money and hay, and there were local fundraisers done for them. Weirdly, the Bondowskis didn't want to give up any of the remaining horses, despite having no feed or shelter for them, and despite the fact that many highly qualified adopters volunteered to foster or permanently adopt them.
After receiving around $300,000 in donations, plus hay and tack, the Bondowskis moved to Coloma, Wisconsin. They stayed there for several years under the name Enchanted Oaks Ranch. Now they are being evicted from the property.
NONE of that is the fault of the Bondowskis' animals, and I certainly encourage you to give one of their horses a good home if you can. Again, I post this information strictly so that anyone who buys from them knows the full situation. This information has been verified by two horse rescues and is provided for your protection, not their harassment. For more information on adoptable horses, call Cindy at 608-322-4068. The Bondowskis currently live at W11687 State Rd 21, Coloma, WI 54930.