Rhapsody Lost in Cesspool of Bloody Horse Slaughter

Story by  Tim Carpenter of CJonline.com

Illegal Horse Slaughter Wrenches Soul from American Horse Lovers

Rhapsody Rhose, stolen, smuggled to Mexico and slaughtered for human consumption in Europe, the bloody nightmare of horse slaughter.

Memories and photographs are all that remain of Rhapsody Rhose.

Jaime Cowan, who rode the purebred Arabian since childhood, clings to these as if grieving the death of a family member.

“I can still smell her,” she said. “I can still feel her breath in my hair.”

Rhapsody’s demise is layered with betrayal by a friend and indifference by others. It also is an economic treatise shaped by America’s prevalent view of equines as companion animals, the overseas desire for horse meat and the buyers, packers and shippers seizing opportunity.

The United States halted butcher of horses for human consumption four years ago, but sustained export of live animals.

Cowan said Rhapsody was sold by a Jackson County caretaker without her permission. Evidence points to the horse moving through Texas to Mexico. The 138,000 U.S. horses annually trucked to Canada or Mexico for slaughter endure a blur of unfamiliar corrals and trailer rides. Rhapsody’s end likely came with a spine-severing knife thrust.

Critics say the trafficking system is rife with unethical business practices. They question safety of meat from horses given medicine unfit for people.

Slaughter proponents say low horse prices and rising costs of maintaining stock place owners in a quandary. What to do with culled horses? Powerful interests, including the 300,000-member American Quarter Horse Association, demand restoration of commercial slaughter.

Cowan never imagined Rhapsody would be a personal symbol of this debate.

“Rhapsody still had the heart of a 10-year-old,” she said. “The most reliable of friends was taken from me.”

CLOSING DOORS

This country has a history of consuming low-fat, high-protein horse meat. The U.S. military fed it to troops until mechanization made horses obsolete. In Topeka, Hill’s Pet Nutrition slaughtered horses into the 1960s. Harvard University’s faculty club had horse on the menu until 1985.

A dozen horse plants operated 20 years ago in the United States. Economics of consumer demand ruled the industry until California passed the first state ban in 1998.

Three major U.S. factories specializing in equine — Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas; Beltex in Fort Worth, Texas; and Cavel in DeKalb, Ill. — were in business a decade ago. Ninety percent of the meat went to Europe and Asia. The remainder was served to zoo carnivores.

In 2006, operation of the plants was jeopardized by Congress’ blockade of federal funds for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections. Packers temporarily worked around the obstacle by paying for USDA reviews.

The Texas plants closed in May 2007 after a federal court affirmed a 1949 state law against possession and transport of horse meat for humans. The Illinois plant followed in September 2007 after a separate court upheld constitutionality of a new Illinois statute banning horse slaughter for human consumption.

MAIN COURSE

Oregon trainer Dave Duquette, president of slaughter advocacy group United Horsemen, uses his head to make the point. He wears a PETA hat labeled “People Eating Tasty Animals.” The Hermiston cowboy believes horses are livestock in the same sense as cattle, hogs and sheep.

“A dog or a cat is a small animal,” he said. “You differentiate them from livestock. You can’t bring a horse into the house.”

He said debate about elimination of slaughter as a herd management tool shouldn’t be tainted by romantic ideas of the American West. The horse glut is real and abandonment at shows, sale barns and public lands is epidemic, he said. Tribal reservations are overrun by feral horses exhibiting characteristics of inbreeding.

“Some look like dinosaurs,” Duquette said. “They used to take them to slaughter.”

Duquette said people shouldn’t criticize a food source they don’t understand. He hosted a show at his training center featuring a horse meat barbecue. “We get a lot of Seattle people here,” he said. “They ate it.”

He’s lobbying Congress to reverse policy on U.S. slaughter of horses because the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups are try to distort production dynamics of all livestock.

‘PREDATORY’

Far from Duquette’s ranch, Wayne Pacelle leads the nation’s largest animal protection organization from L Street in Washington, D.C. Pacelle is the first vegan president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society.

“We’re happy to accept credit for work on tamping down a disreputable and predatory industry,” he said.

Pacelle said the Humane Society supports two horse sanctuaries, but accepts the necessity of euthanasia. Responsible horse owners mercifully put animals down, he said.

In contrast to livestock, he said, horses aren’t raised for slaughter. They’re bred for work or entertainment, but when owners’ interest wanes thousands go to kill buyers. These middlemen inhumanely shipping horses to feedlots and border stations, he said. Most exported horses, he said, were treated with medication inappropriate for humans.

In Mexico, horses are typically immobilized by severing the spine. With the heart beating, they’re hoisted by chain wrapped on a hind leg. A cut to the throat allows horses to bleed out.

Pacelle said Congress should expand U.S. slaughter prohibitions to capture the industry’s every appendage.

“We don’t have to be the nation that is the pipeline for horse meat to satisfy the demand of a small group of high-end foreign consumers,” he said.

Vanished

The 15-year-old registered quarter horse spun left and right in the arena at Campbell’s Sale Barn east of Linwood. When bidding stalled, the owner stopped to praise the animal beneath him. “It will make you coffee in the morning,” he said.

The final $1,400 bid topped the market on a night when 18 other horses under the gavel averaged $150. A red stallion netted $35. The nine-year-old barrel racer went for $170. A gray mare brought $310. Out back in holding pens, a handful of horses were held out of the show. Cowan said Rhapsody began her journey to slaughter in the same barn.

She learned to ride Rhapsody as a child living near Paxico. They parted years later, but horse and rider reunited in 2010. She moved Rhapsody to a friend’s land near Delia. In April, Cowan’s husband discovered the horse gone. Cowan said she was sold by the caretaker for $90.

Cowan said Campbell initially had no recollection of the freckled gray. Later, she said, Campbell told her and a Jackson County Sheriff’s Department investigator the horse went south to “old Mexico.”

Campbell didn’t return telephone calls. The sheriff’s office views the case as a civil matter.

“There’s really nothing I can do,” Cowan said.

GAO insight

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report in June recommending Congress approve federal funding for slaughter inspections or adopt an effective ban.

The agency discovered American horses were transported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter in 2010 at the same rate they were sent to packers four years ago. Last year, 137,984 horses were shipped to the two countries for meat production. In the last full year of U.S. slaughter, 137,688 U.S. horses were slaughtered in this country or after export.

GAO declared closure of U.S. slaughtering facilities “significantly and negatively affected” prices of lower-to-medium quality horses most likely earmarked for slaughter. At the same time, auditors say local government and animal organizations documented a rise in investigation of horse abuse and neglect after 2007.

“Horse welfare in the United States has generally declined,” the report said.

In terms of federal oversight, GAO estimated 60 percent of owner-and-shipper certificates required for movement of horses were missing key information crucial to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. APHIS administers the Animal Welfare Act, but receives no official cooperation from Mexican or Texas officials.

Tug-of-war

U.S. Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Jan Schakowski, D-Ill., introduced a bill in September to end the export of American horses for slaughter and human consumption.

“I personally believe in the importance of treating all horses as humanely and respectfully as possible,” Burton said.

In the Senate, a companion bill by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., would prohibit moving, receiving, possessing, purchasing or selling horses to be slaughtered for human food.

Not to be outdone, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, R-Mont., put forward a measure ending the U.S. horse slaughter ban.

“We’ve seen some pretty shocking cases across Montana of horse abandonment and neglect as owners face tough economic times,” Baucus said. “This ban is part of the problem.”

Baccus supports a 2012 spending bill that would eliminate the USDA restriction on funding of horse meat inspections. Earlier this year, the House adopted a bill upholding the restriction on inspections by USDA.

“Industrial slaughter of horses should not be condoned by the United States government,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.

Rebounding

Careen Cain, founder of Shooting Star Equine Rescue, runs a nonprofit sanctuary south of Topeka. Many in her herd could easily have filtered to kill buyers. She says they like to comfort sellers by promising horses go to good homes.

“A lot of people in the equine community want to close their eyes,” Cain said. “We really want to match horses with homes that will give the horse what it needs and treat them as a member of the family.”

She said the situation demanded more selective breeding, organized gelding programs and commitment from racing insiders to cease collaboration with kill buyers.

Government or special-interest groups could sponsor euthanasia clinics, said Kim Sheppard, a western Missouri animal rights activist who owns two horses pulled from the brink. Shelby was 300 pounds underweight when acquired. Piute, a mustang removed from Wyoming, was adopted in Lawrence from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Cowan drew inspiration from Sheppard, Cain and others uneasy with horse slaughter. Her loss of Rhapsody was tamed by acquiring of Ranger, a Polish-Russian Arabian gelding, and Shadow, a half-Arabian mare. In a sense, the horses rescued her.

“I thought of it as a second chance,” Cowan said.

36 comments on “Rhapsody Lost in Cesspool of Bloody Horse Slaughter

    • In 1985 this is exactly what happened to me. A man who was caring for my horse sold her when he went bankrupt. He didn’t tell me. I was out of state and my Arabian mare, just 7, I had helped raise and trained was gone to auction. He never attempted to contact me. He did not have permission to sell her. This was in central Illinois when there was no market for horses. Dekalb is likely where my beautiful, smart and athletic mare ended up. He ran from the state and I never was able to learn a d***ed thing. It will haunt me all my life. She was so trusting. She learned so quickly and I we had so much fun together! I cannot imagine….

      Like

  1. R.T., Thank you for sharing Jaime and Rhapsody Rhose’s story. It is a heartwrenching story that deserved to be told. I hope it gives Jaime some comfort and closure, she is such a wonderful person. Something like this never should have happened to her and her amazing horse. We are all working hard to make sure this never happens again-to anyone! Thank you for all your hard work put into the slaughter burro’s, and BLM issues. We are behind you all the way!
    Sandi MacPherson

    Like

  2. I’m sorry advocates…but this story has some serious holes.

    I read this over at Horseback and the one that RT featured about the rebuttal from Doink. The article that had Doink was actually a decent journalism effort. The one on Rhapsody left me with nagging legal questions. I do not, however question the pain of loss for the owner….just the so called “circumstances”.

    Like

      • My contract? There was no such contract. When someone is dealing with a close friend (of over 20 years for the husband, and 8 years for me), so close that he was considered “family” and referred to as Uncle Bob; someone who spent holidays at my home, slept on our couch, was in our wedding and even referred to my as his sister, the last thing I thought about was a contract. The bond we had was so strong that he was the LAST person in this whole world I would have ever imagined would hurt me intentionally. I can hear his voice in my head, as this was a frequent phrase of his, “I love you Jimbo, You’re the best sister I didn’t have. Your family means more to me than you’ll ever know.” And then after the passing of his mother, we were all in panic expecting the same money hungry buzzard that raped him of his father’s inheritance only a few years earlier. And sure enough, only 2 months after his mothers death, the woman was living there. In March of this last year, I was on the farm when the woman began following me around while I had my kids up with me to do chores. (That was a DAILY thing to visit the farm and do the chores for ALL of the animals, including 25+ head of cattle, 2 of which were mine and still remain on his farm d/t the sheriff’s dept lacking in response, 30+ chickens, and 2 horses, one mine and one of Bob’s.) We did this because we take care of our animals and loved his animals…. from the chickens to the bull in the pasture. As she continued to follow me, I simply ignored her rude comments and saddled my horse and away I went, leaving her in my dust, both girls on the saddle with me. We rode into the pasture and enjoyed the approaching springtime weather. I did not know that was the last time my daughters would rest on her back. Upon returning to the farm, she began following me again. I dismounted and led Rhappy away with the girls and left her ground tied near the pen. I walked away from the children and asked the woman what her problem was. She stated to me(another EXACT quote) “I want you to take your ugly F***ing kids off this farm.” First instinct…hit the woman in the nose for disrespecting my children. Second instinct(the smarter), walk away and be the adult and tell on her to Bob…after all, I was his sister…right?? I found Bob that evening and told him what had happened. He assured me Rhappy was fine and would never let some woman tell him when, what, how or why to do something. Bob and I never had an angry word, and left in peace. I informed my husband that because of the woman’s behavior, I was going to have to visit the farm when she was not there, which would sadly limet the children’s time with her, as I work night shift and mornings would have to be my new visiting hours. On the weekends while Bob and Brenda would both be at the farm, my husband volunteered to go to the farm and do the chores for me, and that way I could sleep a little more. On a Sunday night, my husband took the kids up to do chores and she was gone. When he asked them where she was, they wouldn’t respond. He was completely ignored. He came home and waited for me to wake to go to work. He came into the bedroom and told me “Rhapsody is gone and I don’t know where she went. They won’t tell me anything.” After that, nothing in my life has been normal. So, nope, no contract. Never crossed my mind because I never expected my best friend to hurt me that way, much like I would never have my sister in law sign a contract when she baby sat my children. Trust has terrible consequences these days. This is an interesting link on crimes like these being sluffed off as “civil matters”. http://netposse.com/misc/article-Horse_theft_civil_matter.htm I hope I answered your question

        Like

      • Jaime:

        Life is a complicated and ugly place; no contract, very few rights or recourse….even worse when discussing animals.

        Do I think you were mistreated and maligned? Absolutely, but the days of a handshake and trust of same are gone. What happened to your horse is even far worse for that horse. This should be a notice to all equine owners stabling off their property…GET A CONTRACT AND BE VIGILANT! Heck, I got my horses ON my property and don’t trust my neighbors; they fire guns, have bad people on their property, eyeing MY property, possessions and animals. Horse theft is a common occurrence and the person that was “caring” for your horse knew what he/she could get away with. Sadly, that is the situation.

        Like

  3. Heartbreaking. I don’t see how this can be considered just a civil matter though. Basically the caretaker stole the horse! And that is a silly, saying a horse is livestock based on it’s size. There ARE horses small enough to be taken into a house. And famous horses have been invited into houses on occasion. (Misty, Trigger?, Mister Ed, I think….)

    Like

  4. First off, taking legal “ownership” of a presumed abandoned horse or other livestock that is on someone’s property (whether board is free… or is or even is not paid), requires legal paperwork based on applicable state laws.

    In the case with Rhapsody and her *ever present* owner, Jaime who was delivering feed the very last time she saw her beloved horse at the same place her cattle were: The perpetrators simply had no legal right to do what they did and the inept, apathetic law (an elected official in the Sheriff’s seat) failed Jaime.

    Had he even filed a report like he was supposed to, and worked closely with *willing* law enforcement 100 miles southeast of where the horse was taken from, another property that was a possible place to look for Rhapsody could have at least been been searched. Instead, that sherriff was not only uncooperative, but was also evasive and unwilling to assist Jaime. Based on my understanding, his conduct was escalated to a state level, but to no avail.

    btw, that Sherriff no longer holds that seat and allegedly had been involved in other fradulent activiites. Those really are the relevant “holes” in this story. You can’t always “make” the law do what they are supposed to do when laws are broken on many levels.

    Like

  5. To all the Advocates: This story happened all too fruquently when the slaugherhouses were open. I can think of two: The story of Montana, a horse sent to Cavel from Canada and three Appaloosa who were owned by a couple and were to be kept by a so called friend.. I’m assuming in another town other than where they lived. Montana was lucky because she was found before she was slaughtered, but was not given back to the owners until the price was doubled or tripled. I do not believe all horses are to be at the auctions. I have
    heard the lies about loving homes, or a minister wants a number of horses for
    boys for a rehabilitation facility. Many times they will scout the news papers for horses being given to loving homes. I have heard that the Houston ASPC will on occassion go to some of the sales and out buy the “Killer Dealers.” When the inspectors were at Cavel, one inspector who I’m sure had enough saved a
    sorrel mare and her paint colt. He was born on the kill floor during the night and the one inspector found him the next morning. The man did not have the heart to kill them. He fought with the other inspector and they were removed. A horse rescue close to Cavel was called in to take them. I will never forget seeing pictures of that little guy and his mom. They named the mom Copper Penny and the little gut Just In Time. I’m sure that they were adopted, but I will never forget the story. But the flip side of that story was that so many others
    were not so lucky. This is why everyone should have current pictures of their
    horse or horses and be familiar with any dealers in your area. Horses are today companion animals and do not go into battle. I love it, if I had room on my property, I’m sure my horse would be looking in the window. They all use our current state of economy as reasons for slaughter. If these people were so
    concerned about the horses, they would look for ways to save them. As Advocates we have to try even harder then we ever had in the past to save our horses. But we can do it. We just need the continued push for Congressional action.

    Like

  6. I have boarding questions. When I was a kid I either just got lucky or I lived in an area that people just didn’t do stuff like this.

    But today I see people going onto other people’s property to take their animals. No one is safe. Even boarding at home is no guarantee.

    So how do know if a stable is honest? What sort of things do you look for? I had my dad all those years ago and today–I feel totally like a fish outta water. How do tell that your horse is properly being fed. At my first barn the feeder didn’t like me so he starved my horse–along with about a dozen others. The weight loss is an obvious clue. But are there other little clues that folks look for that maybe things aren’t really so okay when you aren’t present?

    How do you know that one day your will suddenly disappear? Is there some way to foolproof the system to ensure your horses safety?

    Like

    • Margaret, I’m not sure why you are asking Jamie so many questions about the boarding. She indicated that this was a family friend (if so-called now), so she probably didn’t feel as though a boarding contract was needed. I don’t think you should be questioning her like this as though she is the one at fault here. SHE and RHAPSODY are the victims! This man needs to be sued and spend some jail time! Theft is theft; however, what Jamie lost was more than a material object; it was flesh and blood and a part of her family. Jamie needs support.
      She needs a GOOD equine attorney, and I know of one south of Johnson County, KS. However, it takes money.

      Like

  7. Jaime, my heart goes out to you. I love Arabians, have saved two presently and look forward to two more that were starving in Oregon. I have been asked by the sanctuary owner to hold off bringing the last two in until after the first of the year. Mar, I also cry for your loss. This is disgusting. These animals deserve so much better. Right now, I also think all of us who have horses, especially those being saved in rescues and sanctuaries, should try to find out WHY OUR HAY PRICES ARE OUT OF SIGHT. I have heard the administration has signed an agreement to sell our hay to China and India. WHy are we supporting these countries with hay. We should be supporting our taxpayers who are horse owners to keep these prices low so more will be able to retain ownership of their horses. Another bureuracy gone amuck. But, what else is new. It seems much of the present administration doesn’t give a d___n about our wild horses and burros and anything having to do with them. We have to keep up the fight. I wish more sanctuaries and rescues would work together when in need to keep all open and continuing to save these animals. It’s not a time to be running in the other direction when all love these animals and are trying to save them and find them new homes. God Bless all who work so hard to see a turn in these horrible situations, the BLM and their holding pens, the terrible killer buyers, and all those advocating slaughter houses. In fact, it’s too bad that all the killer buyers don’t end up the way they deliver these horses to their end. What a just ending for these horrible human beings.

    Like

  8. We need someone with the where with all and time and desire to write to BLM and get into a conversation with them about hay for this winter. We need them on the record as to what they need and if they have it and what happens if they don’t.
    I have commitments but I also have projects begging for discreet people to work on. This would be one.

    Like

  9. I don’t know how it is in the areas where you live, but I belong to a horse network organized through our county extensive service. This service provides equine education classes that might help people who want to learn more about how to feed their horses and pasture management. Even if you board, and I do, it helps you understand different forms of good management can look like.

    However, where I was going with this is that our agricultural extensive service offers a hay directory. If you live in this area and need hay, they provide a number to call. Maybe some of the areas where you who are having difficulty finding affordable hay have a similar service, or perhaps you have already tried this and there is none available. It seems like it would be reasonable for the USDA to maintain a regional or even national network data bases for hay providers, or an emergency needs hay system. if they don’t hay one they need to establish one after this year especially.

    I board at a large barn and the owner gets most or all of the hay from New York. It is delivered on one of the huge tractor-trailer sized rigs during the year. New York state is probably a 15 hour drive from here at least, but the owner of the barn believes that the hay is a good quality and less likely to lead to impaction colic than lesser quality hay.

    We had a similar situation to what people who are no longer able to find hay in their area are experiencing a few years ago. It was very hard to find affordable hay, and if people had a source, they wouldn’t give up the name of their provider. Our rescue baled a farmer’s pasture who let us have his hay for a reduced price.

    I have been fortunate to board or take lessons at well-run facilities. I have found a couple of them through word of mouth, another because of where it was located, I think you can get a feel about a place.

    Does it feel like a place you want to come to and spend time with your horse? Do the horses at the barn look healthy and well fed? You shouldn’t see a number of horses with their ribs showing, but you might see an older horse or a horse with a difficult to manage medical condition at the barn, so if you see a ribby one, try to find out why he is thing. I like to look at eyes to see if they are bright or dull.

    Check to see how the horses will be fed. If you board at a place where there are large numbers of horses in a pasture that will feed (eat their grain) at the same time, see whether the horses are fed together in the pasture or herded to stalls where they each get their own portion. I’ve had good results in both situations. Sometimes there is not one absolute right way to do something, and horse barn managers and owners have different experiences

    You want a place that provides clean water 24/7 and a three sided shelter if there are only a few horses in the pasture. Natural shelter such as shade from trees or land formations is OK, too, and may actually be safer than a shed if there are dominant horses in the pasture or a large number of them. A lot of horses won’t use the shelter when you think they would, but they ought to have a way to get out of freezing rain, high or cold wind, or strong sun. Also, avoid barbed or tencil wire. They can slice a horse up. This is not as much of a problem when the pasture is large, but these fencing types are best avoided in smaller areas.

    I like to feel like the barn owner or manager knows just about everything about everybody and every horse on the property. I like being able to show up whenever I can get to the barn and ride wherever i feel it is safe to ride on the property given the number of factors that can affect horses such as wind, weather, shows, and other other events on the farm. I want to be where I am allowed to choose my own trimmer, my own vet, and will schedule me for farm calls when I can be with my horses.

    You can problably google the key words in your question and find better answers than this, but I was once where you are, and remember how it felt when I didn’t realize what I didn’t know until I had to know it.

    Denise is right about the written contract. That is very important, and will offer you legal protection for your horse. But the best situation is to find a place where mostly happy people with mostly happy horses live and congregate. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or be fancy unless that’s what you want.

    Get your contract and make sure it states how much you will be charged for board and what that charge includes, Stal board, pasture board, or a combination of both? How often will your horse’s shavings be changed or are you responsible for doing this yourself? You want to know if the board includes wormers and the administration of medications or if those will be additional charges. You don’t have to know everything there is to know. You learn along the way.

    if you need a trainer or a riding instructor are there some in your area that will come to your barn or do you need to board at a barn that they own or where they work to get their services.

    By the way, as a member of the multiple days of dusty bottoms club, I examine the surfaces in the arena areas, round pens, and other areas where I think I might be riding. I like a lot of sand and zero rocks.

    How to feel you and your horse fit in with the other people who board at your barn? Not everyone likes the same time of atmostphere.

    Like

    • Just a minor point, Christie (your post is good info), but it is called the county/state “extension” service. I have found on the East and West Coasts that they are shrinking and frequently unavailable, overworked, underfunded and a ton of voicemail. Sad really….agriculture from backyard landscaping, livestock production, small business and family projects/issues are suffering from the urbanization and state/fed budget deficits of the US.

      Like

  10. Christy, yes that is good information. I hope some people will save it and use it when/if they need it. VERY easy to understand.
    On the other hand, I feel as though the fact that I had no contract is being used here as a possible reason my horse was taken without prosecution. That bothers me. I rode Rhapsody from age 10 until roughly 20. Until I moved to town 3 years ago, I never in my life have had to board my horse anywhere. So when I entrusted the lives of my bottlefed calf and horse in a dear friend’s care, I never imagined anything like this would ever happen to either of them. I never thought of it as boarding, and to this day, Bob has never referred to it as that, either. Because we spent almost all of out free time on that farm, and were best friends with the man that offered to keep her there, I guess to me it was a very kind gesture that was offered by a friend because I had done so much work and spent so much time on that farm.
    I guess my point is, that in the day and age I was raised in, we did not slaughter horses. I had heard when I was younger that glue was made out of horse hooves. I heard the term “Glue factory” but had no idea what it was all about. And I am completely dumbfounded that it took me 30 years to learn the gruesome facts of horse slaughter. Was I uneducated? Yes I was. Naive? Sure. But would I classify myself as negligent? Absolutely not. Because I trusted someone with my animal’s life, was stupid to rely on the decency of another human being and because I was, for some odd reason, expecting to be treated with dignity and respect when a cruel and disgusting crime was commited against my horse, who never hurt a soul in 21 years!! If I knew then what I have learned in the last six months, we would not be here today. There would not be a need for any contract, because I would have Rhapsody Rhose in my back yard exactly where I have Ranger and Shadow IN TOWN. I would not let my guard down for one minute.
    Again, I describe this as being similar to that of a parent whose child is being held by a babysitter. You told the sitter you’d mow their grass for them if they’d watch your child, you mowed their grass, and now your child is gone. Call the cops. But you better be damned sure you have your contract in hand. If not, its your own fault and you’ll suffer the consequences, dummy! The law has failed Rhapsody Rhose in so many ways. I understand that a contract would have been a good idea. I get that. I feel that. But the lack of a contract does not give someone the right to steal your family member(pet)whom you obviously have great love for, or to inflict emotional pain on you just out of spite. Nor does it give them the right to torment you in public, or chuckle to your children “tell your mom we’re having horse burgers for dinner.”(And yes, SHE most certainly DID!!)
    And the law? What law? IMO, the law hung my family out to dry 6 months ago, when they took my cries for help as a joke, and I was mocked by the sheriff and scolded for crying over a “stupid horse”. When I called hysterical because I had finally heard rumor Rhappy went to auction but no one would tell me nearly a month after she was gone, it took 3 phone calls before anyone would even write down my name or even listen to my story or situation. As soon as they heard “horse is gone” they spit out the words “civil matter”. It was my persistance that got them to finally respond to my calls, and gave me the “pleasure” of arranging a meeting with the sheriff DAYS later, but over a month since she went missing. There was never a cop at my door to take a report; no deputy on the line to explain things to me. No serious response from law enforcement and still, to this day, the only thing that exists is a “miscellaneous report” written by the former sheriff that is nothing but his personal opinions. From that point on, I was treated like crap, laughed at, yelled at and humiliated. And then ridiculed for comparing them to the loss of a family member. Yes, I love my pets like they are family. No, I do not love Rhapsody more than I love my children. But ‘family’ or ‘like my own child’ are the only things that even come close to comparable to the way I feel about her. And to know that someone I loved so much died the horrific death she did, breaks my heart each time I talk about it. And I can’t type it anymore. I am tired. The story in its entirety is at http://www.justice4rhapsody.org

    Like

  11. Christy, yes that is good information. I hope some people will save it and use it when/if they need it. VERY easy to understand.
    On the other hand, I feel as though the fact that I had no contract is being used here as a possible reason my horse was taken without prosecution. That bothers me. I rode Rhapsody from age 10 until roughly 20. Until I moved to town 3 years ago, I never in my life have had to board my horse anywhere. So when I entrusted the lives of my bottlefed calf and horse in a dear friend’s care, I never imagined anything like this would ever happen to either of them. I never thought of it as boarding, and to this day, Bob has never referred to it as that, either. Because we spent almost all of out free time on that farm, and were best friends with the man that offered to keep her there, I guess to me it was a very kind gesture that was offered by a friend because I had done so much work and spent so much time on that farm.
    I guess my point is, that in the day and age I was raised in, we did not slaughter horses. I had heard when I was younger that glue was made out of horse hooves. I heard the term “Glue factory” but had no idea what it was all about. And I am completely dumbfounded that it took me 30 years to learn the gruesome facts of horse slaughter. Was I uneducated? Yes I was. Naive? Sure. But would I classify myself as negligent? Absolutely not. Because I trusted someone with my animal’s life, was stupid to rely on the decency of another human being and because I was, for some odd reason, expecting to be treated with dignity and respect when a cruel and disgusting crime was commited against my horse, who never hurt a soul in 21 years!! If I knew then what I have learned in the last six months, we would not be here today. There would not be a need for any contract, because I would have Rhapsody Rhose in my back yard exactly where I have Ranger and Shadow IN TOWN. I would not let my guard down for one minute.

    Like

  12. Again, I describe this as being similar to that of a parent whose child is being held by a babysitter. You told the sitter you’d mow their grass for them if they’d watch your child, you mowed their grass, and now your child is gone. Call the cops. But you better be damned sure you have your contract in hand. If not, its your own fault and you’ll suffer the consequences, dummy! The law has failed Rhapsody Rhose in so many ways. I understand that a contract would have been a good idea. I get that. I feel that. But the lack of a contract does not give someone the right to steal your family member(pet)whom you obviously have great love for, or to inflict emotional pain on you just out of spite. Nor does it give them the right to torment you in public, or chuckle to your children “tell your mom we’re having horse burgers for dinner.”(And yes, SHE most certainly DID!!)
    And the law? What law? IMO, the law hung my family out to dry 6 months ago, when they took my cries for help as a joke, and I was mocked by the sheriff and scolded for crying over a “stupid horse”. When I called hysterical because I had finally heard rumor Rhappy went to auction but no one would tell me nearly a month after she was gone, it took 3 phone calls before anyone would even write down my name or even listen to my story or situation. As soon as they heard “horse is gone” they spit out the words “civil matter”. It was my persistance that got them to finally respond to my calls, and gave me the “pleasure” of arranging a meeting with the sheriff DAYS later, but over a month since she went missing. There was never a cop at my door to take a report; no deputy on the line to explain things to me. No serious response from law enforcement and still, to this day, the only thing that exists is a “miscellaneous report” written by the former sheriff that is nothing but his personal opinions. From that point on, I was treated like crap, laughed at, yelled at and humiliated. And then ridiculed for comparing them to the loss of a family member. Yes, I love my pets like they are family. No, I do not love Rhapsody more than I love my children. But ‘family’ or ‘like my own child’ are the only things that even come close to comparable to the way I feel about her. And to know that someone I loved so much died the horrific death she did, breaks my heart each time I talk about it. And I can’t type it anymore. I am tired. The story in its entirety is at http://www.justice4rhapsody.org

    Like

  13. There is a great deal of information on this site. Perhaps good place to find legal assistance. This case needs to be persued and those responsible brought to justice:
    Animal Legal Defense Fund
    http://aldf.org/article.php?id=244
    Tort: Injury to a person or property for which a civil (money) remedy may be obtained. In the United States, companion animals are considered the property of their caretakers. When someone has injured or killed someone else’s companion animal, it is called a “tort” case, which is abbreviated from the word “tortuous” (wrongful) interference with some personal or property interest.
    * In our country’s legal system, animals are considered mere property – legal “things.” When an animal is killed or injured, most courts see this as an injury to property, no different than damage to a car or other personal property. For this reason, courts and legal cases refer to the “owner,” rather than “caretaker,” of an animal. ALDF believes that animals have intrinsic value as well as value to people far beyond mere “property.“ Indeed, many people consider animal companions as cherished friends and even members of the family. Therefore, even though the law considers people as “owners” of their animals, they will be referred to as “caretakers” in this memorandum. Note: At least one court has recognized that animals have value in their own right, in addition to their special value to their human companions. (Bueckner v. Hamel (1994) 886 S.W.2d 368, Andell, ., concurring.
    Attorneys Nathan J. Winograd, Shawn Thomas, Valerie J. Stanley, David S. Favre and Murray Loring contributed to the development of this memorandum. © February, 2001, Animal Legal Defense Fund.

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to fight to strengthen state anti-cruelty statutes. For information on how you can work to improve the anti-cruelty laws in your state, see ALDF’s Model Laws

    Like

    • Burgess vs Taylor is a case I was presented with by my first attorney. That is the route he was planning on taking. He quit because my cows were still on the property and there was urgency in the case, or at least urgency in getting the cows off of the land until the court could decide who should have them. Very useful info you posted and I thank you.

      Like

  14. I don’t know what state you are from, but in Kansas, I covered all of the major law firms in or around NE Kansas and they all told me that getting a tort case ruling in your favor over a pet in Kansas is next to impossible. But I won’t give up, I’ve just exhausted my resources at the moment. Thank you so much for your support.

    Like

  15. Jaime,
    I may have emphasized in my remarks the importance of having a contract when you board. Part of the reason I mentioned it twice is because of what happened to you. From what you described, a legal contract may not have saved your horse. It seems to me that you were betrayed on so many different levels that I do not think even if there were a contract in place, the outcome would have been different because the people who were involved from your friend, the carrion woman, the sheriff (who represents the system that should protect us and our property when individuals fail).

    I have not been through what you have been through, but I think I have been through enough to understand that you received more than one devestating loss.. Not only did you lose your horse, but you were betrayed by the person you thought was your best friend as well as the system (sheriff et al) that should have protected you and your horse. In some ways it might be easier to get over the loss of your horse, than the betrayal of a person that was so close to you. You thought you knew him, but with a jolt, you discovered you didn’t know him at all and he had lived right up close next to you. The other possibility is that you may have known him very well, but he may have changed profoundly after his mother died.

    I have done business with people without a contract on several occasions. A legal contract may help you get financialy remunerated, get damages, or may act as a gate to stop some people, but a standard boarding contract could not have prevented this. Bad people will do what bad people do, and not having had experience with this of sort of evil before, I doubt if it was within your vision of forseeability. What is more, is no matter what happened to Rhapsodie or where she is now, she knows the truth. Horses know. Horses always know.

    Like

  16. This has happened more times then we would want to know, it is so sad that people especially ones we trust with our beloved horses , do this kind of thing , Christie is right horses know, oh yes they do know, they only thing that can be done is to make sure it doesnt happen again, create Laws and binding contracts, we must protect the Horses from this kind of horror !!!!!! This is so sad that some people just cant be trusted………………………..

    Like

  17. Thank you R.T. for writing Jaime’s story. Having spent a lot of time on Facebook networking horses and fighting slaughter pro’s beside her, I can tell you this woman has and is still going through emotional hell. But instead of laying down, Jaime has taken up the fight to protect the innocent without voices from having the same fate. I admire her and proudly stand beside her in our dedication to stop slaughter and save all those horses we can!

    Like

    • Actually, Bev…I did not write this story but an interested and local reporter did, the links are at the top of the article. But in hindsight, I am sorry that I did not but I found it difficult to ask Jamie questions about her ordeal, it sent chills up and down my spine and in reality, I do not know how I would have reacted if such a devastating and murderous travesty was rained down upon any of my equine friends. Perhaps that is what bothered me the most.

      Like

      • R.T., Thank you for sharing my story and at the same time, understanding that though I have told my story a hundred times, it hasn’t gotten any easier and I am glad you saw that. Thanks for your continued support. ~JC~

        Like

  18. Jamie, I can totally understand your situation and devastation. My son too was involved in a similar matter. He was nineteen years old, TRUSTED long term friends, PAID to board his horse, bought special senior feed on top of that (which they fed to their horses), helped bale hay, do chores, weed eat around pond, clean barn and the list was endless. He had no life except bein’ their slave. When he tried to reason with these people, such as where is the feed I bought yesterday? I can’t bale today my job has me mandated overtime, etc., it began to get ugly! They tried everything they could to talk him into slaughter! He stood his grounds and ask for a month to have a barn built and turn a woodlot into a pasture. Me, my husband and son began the big undertaking. Thank God, we do have trusted friends who came to help us out. Cut down many trees, ground out stumps, put up fence posts and fence, built a 12X12 stall barn in the pasture, installed gates, etc. You see that is when it all started was when my son told them we were HAVING a barn built. We couldn’t wait for the month on the contractor so we built it ourselves, fearing what would happen to the horse! Yes he paid, he helped and had no contract because he TRUSTED just like he was taught by me and his horse! I tried to stay out of it and did until they were ****bent on sending OUR horse to slaughter. I don’t like being ugly but……..enough was enough! They got reminded by me that they paid no income taxes on their so called boarding and lesson business (reason for no contract) and they better shut it down or else and they did immediately! My son was the only boarder at the time because the others had already pulled out before this all began but they were still giving lessons and sometimes using my sons horse! I TOLD them, don’t touch the horse or I will unleash my own can of woop***! Then I made them sign and date with witnesses our boarding bill was paid in full! Our situation had a better outcome than yours, we still have our old guy and he loves his barn, pasture and donkey buddy and for all this I’m so very thankful! To you Jamie I’m so sorry for your loss in all ways. What did we learn from all this? It is hard to trust anything except a horse or donkey, and horse slaughter should’ve ending yesterday!

    Like

  19. Let me correct myself R.T. Thank you for posting this story 🙂 I totally understand the dilema and finding it hard to ask such a kind lady such painful questions. My respect for Jaime is real as is my heart break for her nightmare that she has endured. Thanks as always R.T. for bringing to light all we need in our battle for our equine!

    Like

Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s