From Wild Horse Salvation to Starvation: Two of a Three-part Journal Special Report

When allegations of starving wild horses surfaced at a sanctuary in remote north-central South Dakota, it seemed like a stunning and sudden fall for the organization and its leader.

In reality, it was the result of a sadly predictable series of events that stretched over 17 years. That story is told in this three-part Journal special report.


Updated 10 hrs ago
Updated 10 hrs ago
Updated 19 hrs ago

9 comments on “From Wild Horse Salvation to Starvation: Two of a Three-part Journal Special Report

  1. Just heard from Chilly Pepper (rescue) the last 5 horses they brought from ISPMB had their feet done & are being taken to their adoptive homes. Then this rescue is going back to ISPMB & pick up some more. They are a small rescue & really not set up to take large numbers of horses – I think they’ve brought 10 or 12 down from SD – gotten their feet trimmed – fed them up – studs gelded etc. Then they adopt them out – BEFORE they go back for more! I sure hope there are other rescues that are stepping up – I dont hear much about any other than this one.
    I cant imagine the difficulty in running a rescue – any kind – I doubt that anyone who hasnt actually been involved would be able to comprehend the difficulty in caring for the animals – yet having to constantly look for donations to keep going.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not a nonprofit, but have a horse rescue. I have 4 formerly wild mustangs along with an assortment of untrained/feral domestics that would have been slaughtered. It’s not easy, but as my contribution to society, I feel I’d rather help horses than humans as the horses always appreciate everything you do for them and they don’t lie. People do. Many horse rescues are legitimate, and run by hard working, kind hearted souls others allow their ego’s to get in the way. I do what I can on my own dime and time, saving one horse at a time. It’s not fair to the public to have to absorb the cost of a lifetime of care for a mustang when there is a huge problem with domestic breeders dumping young, healthy, trained and untrained domestic horses into the slaughter pipeline. We don’t need no mustangs to adopt or rescue PERIOD. The BLM and USFS and the ARMY and wherever wild horses and burros roam just need to have safe public lands to graze on in their natural way and in their natural habitat. I’m rather tired of having to bail out these domestic and wild horses from callous, greedy, horse owners that continue to breed, use up and dump their “unwanted” or “not perfect” or oops, “can’t afford to feed ’em” or “beloved childhood companion who is now 25” horses into the slaughter pipeline. Horse owners must take responsibility for the lifetime care of their horses. They are not to be treated like trash. It pains me when I see BLM branded mustangs on the kill pens, many of them never were trained, just left to rot and now dumped to die an inhumane death. America has to wake up and get their priorities straight. Wild horses are a national treasure and should be treated as such. #KeepWildHorsesWild

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      • Ah here is another beautiful BLM mustang at the Bastrop Kill pen. $700… Bastrop Louisiana Ship Pen
        Yesterday at 2:32pm ·
        Tag: 544
        Breed: mustang
        Age:adult
        Color:bay
        Gender:
        Height: 15.1
        Weight:1100
        Price: 700
        Shipping date: November 14,2016
        Contact:
        Dennie 318-366-2304
        Hal 318-669-4272
        All sale are final. No refunds! All equine are sold as is. We sell the horses to save there lives not as performance horses. Horses are sold as is https://www.facebook.com/bastroplouisianakillpen/videos/1657434691227749/

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  2. This is a Lesson in What We are Preaching: Ask for Help Before You Need it. Admit your overwhelmed and let people know you are adking for Support to get things on track. Do Not allow it to go on and on and on. Lingering issues are dangerous. The fact is She knew her predicament and should have assembled the Board and Said We are in Real Need. Not just a donation or some sedatives and bandaids but Real Honest to goodness crisis. Approaching the Public and asking other Rescues to help could have Prevented a crusus. Swallow All Pride and Put the Animals FIRST. Its the Only right thing. The public would have accepted the honesty and being forthright. Lives could have been spared and yes proslaughter would still hover but they wouldnt be able to point crooked fingers of the long skelatal hands of death in the sanctuaries direction. Please lets evaluate weigh balance and learn from this. Even when we disagree the help must come first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good points. I would add that anyone who agrees to be on a nonprofit board of directors should take that responsibility seriously and not just be a name on the letterhead, however grand the cause may seem. In this case, the crisis was visible on the horizon for years but no horses were gelded, accurate inventories were not kept, and the horses were innocent patsies of human folly, yet again. What the board of directors knew, and when, remains unanswered, as does the disposition of donated funds. One can hope they are auditable and accurate.

      The “research” seems unlikely to be published so the suffering of these animals cannot be justified by simple field documentation. Did the board ever see it, or direct any of it? I would like to see this research and its funding sources, protocols, hypotheses, controls, methodologies, researcher credentials and beginning and end dates. I doubt they exist, honestly. It seems most of the horses spent most of their lives in remote areas and ISPMB had only minimal staff, none which seem to be credible researchers, only passionate horse people. That is not good enough reason for these horses to suffer. If as stated elsewhere, the “results” were aimed at showing the BLM that they need to alter their management practices, all it has done is prove them correct about their claims concerning uncontrolled breeding using finite resources. The horses lose again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Admit it/stop lying, face reality and STOP the breeding! Three simple things she could have done to actually help these horses! Yet pride and her hoarding got in the way. I hope she can never own an animal again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well over 22 Million acres have been taken from Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas. The agencies that were supposed protect Wild Horses & Burros have instead done the bidding of private and corporate interests who want them out of the way. The Horses at ISPMB would most likely have been taken to slaughter if Karen Sussman had not stepped in. The taxpayers get the bill and get the shaft as they watch these beautiful herds disappear forever from their public lands. The Buck stops at the top, where decisions are made

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