Hundreds of Wild Horses to be Relocated from Louisiana Military Base to Dallas TX Area for Adoption

Caleb Downs, Breaking News reporter as published on The Dallas News

Hundreds of wild horses from a military base in Louisiana are being relocated to North Texas in an effort to find them new owners.

fort-polk-horsesThe operation is being managed by the Humane Society of North Texas, according to KXAS-TV (NBC 5). It is moving the herd of nearly 400 horses from the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center in Vernon Parish, La., to the Humane Society’s location in Decatur.

“It’s an honor to work with the Army and be a part of this,” said Sandy Shelby, the Humane Society of North Texas’ executive director. “It is kind of historic.”

Army officials said there were previously around 700 horses and donkeys living on and around Fort Polk, but many of the donkeys were stolen, according to the Humane Society of North Texas.

Shelby said the horses are well-known in Vernon Parish and are referred to as “trespass horses.”

The army decided to move them because they were too close to the military base and all the weaponry contained within it, which wasn’t safe for the horses or military staff.

Many advocates have argued that the horses should have been left alone, but “kill buyers” were offering to purchase the horses and ship them to Mexico to sell their meat.

The Humane Society then stepped in to relocate the horses for adoption, Shelby said.

The Humane Society of North Texas will move the horses in groups of about 50 at a time for the next two years until all have been relocated, according to NBC 5.

The first 50 have already been moved. They’ve had little human interaction, and volunteers with the Humane Society said they need special homes.

“Whoever comes in that wants to get involved in this does need to be an experienced horse person,” Shelby said. “We’ll keep [the horses] as long as we need to until every last one of them gets a home.”

The Humane Society says the relocation effort will cost about $50,000. It is asking anyone who can’t adopt a horse to make a donation to help feed and house a horse while it waits to be adopted.

Texas’ Laughing Horse Ranch not Laughing: Underwater, AGAIN

by R.T. Fitch, president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We rescued the horses from the lower pastures before the water swallowed everything…”


IMG_587212+ inches of rain in only a few hours and our rescued horses, cats, dog, Terry and I are huddled together on top of our little hill with the water actually lapping at the doors of our barn and house.

We have been here for ten years and have never seen anything like this, it eclipses the flood of last month and the water has not stopped rising.

Our concern goes out to Marjoree Farabee and her hundreds of rescued donkeys, burros, mules and horses.

More news as time permits.

Keep the Faith


Dying Vietnam Vet Asks for Final Meeting with Beloved Horses Outside Hospital

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes…”

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Photo: (Lupe Hernandez, South Texas Veterans Health Care System)

Vietnam veteran Roberto Gonzalez’s final wish was granted Saturday when he was reunited with his beloved horses — Ringo and Sugar — outside of a Texas VA hospital.

Gonzalez, of Premont, Texas, who was shot and paralyzed during the war, was wheeled outside the front doors of Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital in San Antonio where he was greeted by the horses he had raised for decades, reported.

Gonzalez, who was one of the hospital’s first patients when it opened in 1974, had asked his family to see his horses one last time. The family passed along the request to hospital staff who gladly obliged. Ringo and Sugar then made the 150-mile trip to the hospital to see him.

“Horses are his life,” his wife, Rosario Gonzalez, told KABB. “We’ve been training and raising horses for 30, 40 years.”

The South Texas Veterans Health Care System posted a photo of the meeting on its Facebook page on Sunday, calling Gonzalez a great American and identifying him as one of the first patients at the hospital.

“A heartfelt Thank you, to all at Audie L. Murphy V A Hospital,” Rosario Gonzalez posted in response. “A special thank you to the spinal cord staff, all of you became a part of our family.

“The care you have been giving my husband and to me goes above and beyond,” she wrote. “You are our angels God Bless you all.”

Gonzalez reportedly learned that his kidneys and liver were failing when he recently visited the hospital for a back wound.

“He never let his injuries slow him down. He loved horses, he loved cattle, he loved ranching and farming. He was proud to serve his country,” Rosario Gonzalez told ABC affiliate KSAT.

Gonzalez’s May 21 visit with the horses came 46 years to the day after he was wounded in Vietnam. His wife told local media stations that her husband was one of the only licensed, handicapped horse trainers in Texas.

“When the horse came up to him he actually opened his eyes. They came up to him and I think they were actually kissing him,” Gonzalez told

Feel Good Sunday: A Man, His Donkey and the Open Road

story by Jobin Panicker, WFAA

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,”

GRANBURY, Texas — Charlie Hill wouldn’t say he’s homeless, but rather, a man who is free and on an adventure.

He gets to see Texas at his donkey’s pace.

“He’s in charge of this expedition… He sure is,” Hill said of his 9-year-old donkey named Smokey.

There is no hurry to where they are going. News 8 caught up with them as they finally decided to rest up in Granbury.

“We just wander around like stray dogs. Sometimes he wants to go south because it’s too cold,” Charlie laughed.

It is a life Charlie decided to have on a whim 12 years ago. He told News 8 that he was done with the hustle and bustle of life and work where he says he was once a captain in commercial shipping.

He says he also got tired of depending on others. So, he now has a 9-year-old stubborn donkey with an odd craving for Coca-Cola.

“He’s family,” Charlie said. “I don’t have any other family.”

Now, Smokey is practically a celebrity wherever they go. There are always vehicles pulling up on the side of the road, wanting pictures of the pair.

“It was just great to see a guy that’s going about his way,” said one on-looker.

“I just wanted to share a story that happened to me. I hoped it would speak to somebody,” Cook said.

And it did — the post has more than 4,000 Facebook shares.

Charlie and Smokey are living off what they get from stranger’s kindness. Charlie tells News 8 that after passing through our neck of the woods, they’re off to the Red River counties.

Horse owners invited to participate in Texas equine study


Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,

Contact: Dr. James Heird, 979-845-0511,

Dr. Rebekka Dudensing, 979-845-1719,

COLLEGE STATION –Texas horse owners are invited to participate in a study of the Texas equine industry.

photo by Terry Fitch“The purpose of this study is to gather information about respondents’ horses and facilities, demographics, participation in the industry, horse-related expenditures and economic impacts,” said Dr. James Heird, executive professor and coordinator of the equine initiative at Texas A&M University in College Station. “Results of this study will be used by industry representatives, the Texas Department of Agriculture and other policy makers to respond to current needs of the state’s horse owners and related businesses.”

The study asks about horse ownership, participation in horse-related activities, boarding facilities, and horse-related expenditures. Owners of businesses that serve horse owners, such as feed stores, training facilities, farriers, and veterinarians, are also invited to participate in the survey.

The online survey can be accessed from the link:

The survey will remain open through May 1. Survey participants must be at least 18 years old. The Texas Department of Agriculture along with industry professionals are sponsoring the study through the Texas A&M Equine Initiative to identify trends and issues in the Texas equine industry and to document the industry’s contribution to the state economy.

Studies by other researchers in 1998 and 2005 found that Texas was home to more horses than any other U.S. state and the horse industry was an important contributor to the state’s economy.

The current study will reflect changes within the industry and the statewide economy over the past 20 years.

Heird said a 2005 American Horse Council Foundation study found that Texas ranked No. 1 among U.S. states in the number of horses and that the Texas horse industry had a direct economic impact of $3 billion and an overall economic impact of $5.2 billion.

A comprehensive economic impact study on Texas’ equine industry has not been done since 2005, prompting a new survey to collect the most recent information, according to survey organizers.

Feel Good Sunday: Donkey Helps Find Flying iPhone

After Ben Wilson’s iPhone fell out of the plane he was piloting at 9,300 feet in the air, he assumed he’d never see the device again. But he tracked the device to a pasture 90 miles away, and found it in perfect working condition … with the help of a donkey.

Wilson, the owner of natural-gas equipment company Gas Corporation of America, didn’t intend to test the durability of his iPhone or protective case. He was flying his Beechcraft Bonanza single-engine plane from Houston to his home in Wichita Falls, Texas, this week when his door suddenly opened about three inches mid-flight.

“That’ll wake you up,” Wilson, 74, said dryly in an interview with NBC News conducted via the fallen iPhone on Friday. “My Wall Street Journal got sucked out of the plane, and I just kept flying because we were close to home.”

Once he’d landed safely in Wichita Falls, Wilson realized his iPhone was missing too. It must have been wrapped in the Journal, he reasoned, and he assumed the device was simply gone. The Wichita Falls Times Record first reported Wilson’s story.

But Wilson’s stepson, John Kidwell — who is also the vice president of sales at Gas Corp. — pulled up the “Find My iPhone” app on his own phone and was amazed to see Wilson’s device pop up on a map. The iPhone was sitting somewhere in tiny Joplin, Texas.

Determined to retrieve Wilson’s iPhone — along with 250 contact numbers and 1,000 photos he didn’t want to lose — Wilson and Kidwell got in the car the next morning and drove the 90 miles from Wichita Falls to Joplin. Kidwell traced the signal to a fenced-in pasture, and the hunt began.

“I climbed the fence and this donkey trotted up to me and looked me right in the eyes,” Wilson said. “He would not leave our sides. I think he was trying to help us find the phone.”

The iPhone was sitting in plain sight in the pasture, nestled in thick grass below a mesquite tree that Wilson believes helped cushion the device’s long fall.

“I said, ‘You pick that phone up before that donkey steps on it!'” Kidwell said. “Can you imagine if it survived a 9,300-foot drop just to get stepped on by some donkey?”

Incredibly, the phone was in perfect working order with only a few scratches on the corners. The screen was intact, the phone still made calls and all other features worked as usual. Wilson had encased the iPhone in a protective case with an external battery pack, which was the only piece that snapped off in the fall and couldn’t be found.

Wilson is “amazed” his iPhone is working fine after the 9,300-foot plunge, which he and Kidwell verified by checking his altitude over Joplin via the flight-tracking site FlightAware. He’s happy to have his phone and his irreplaceable photos back in hand, but he’s most happy to have met that strange, friendly donkey.

“I didn’t get to talk to the ranch owner, but I want to send him a newspaper clip and tell him I’d want to adopt the donkey. He was a hoot,” Wilson said. “We made a new friend and I got my phone back. Everything turned out real well.”

New Animal Cruelty Charges for Conroe TX Horse Farm Owners

ABC 13 Houston

New charges have been filed against a Conroe farm owner accused of neglecting more than 200 horses.

Herman Hoffman and his wife, Kathleen Hoffman, face 17 new counts of animal cruelty. He also is charged with one count of tampering.

The Hoffmans already were charged with three counts of animal cruelty after Montgomery County investigators seized more than 200 horses from the Calico Diary farm last month. Authorities claimed the animals appeared to be starved and neglected.

Bond was set for $12,750 for each of the new misdemeanors and $10,000 for the felony tampering charge.

The two turned themselves into authorities Friday afternoon.

(Footnote: The couple want their seized horses back)

Inside Texas horse “nightmare” after massive animal seizure

Source: Houston’s ABC Channel 13 News

“We’re hoping today is the day life changes for them.”

Click image to view video

Click image to view video


Husband-and-wife farm owners Herman and Kathleen Hoffman are each charged with three counts of animal cruelty. They were arrested late last night and bonded out jail today. However, even though they bonded out of jail, they are not permitted back on the property. Officers will be at the farm around-the-clock to make sure they don’t try to take any of the horses or tamper with evidence.

Houston SPCA on the scene today removed horses in the worst condition and fed the rest mounds of hay. The horses Eyewitness News saw fed for hours.

Houston SPCA says they hope this will be the start of a new life for these animals.

Horses are starved to death in some cases. Flies swarmed around some of the animals’ open wounds. President of the Houston SPCA Patricia Mercer told Eyewitness News, “When you get to a point when you don’t have any muscle mass left, it’s really hard to stand.”

“We have over 200 horses and we are going to be doing blood work, diagnostics on these horses, farrier work,” Mercer continued. “Horses should have their feet trimmed every six weeks. Many of these horses it’s likely that they’ve never had their feet trimmed. They’re in very bad condition.”

Montgomery County Attorney JD Lambright said, “There is evidence of bones on the acreage out here, but just from that alone, that really don’t tell you anything, so that investigation will be ongoing.”

Lambright said earlier in the day, “The logistics – just, you can imagine the nightmare involved of getting this many horses in this condition off the premises and getting them some place for care…(they) will be taken to a medical care at the (Houston SPCA) facility.”

Mercer also told Eyewitness News her team is collecting evidence for the county attorney’s office and the district attorney’s office in anticipation of a custody hearing on Tuesday.

“We have a huge job ahead of us,” she continued. “It’s unusual to do a seizure on site, but because of the sheer number of horses involved, we’ve elected to take the most critical horses back to the Houston SPCA — all of these horses need care, all of these horses are in need of veterinary care and so we’ll be providing care on site here…but we’ll be taking about two dozen of them.”

Asked what she’s seeing at the farm, Mercer said, “(The horses are) in varying stages of neglect. Horses are very expensive to care for. We see a lot of hoof issues with these animals. Certainly some emaciation, poor nutrition issues and it’s really hard to pinpoint at this point. We’re doing cursory examinations….We have horses with a lot of health issues.”

Mercer added, “We’re hoping today is the day life changes for them.”

Mercer said she hopes Houston will step up to help with the care of these animals.

To help the Houston SPCA, go to their website.

Texas Ranch owner, wife taken into custody during investigation into horse neglect

Author: Syan Rhodes, Reporter,
Phil Archer, Reporter,  as published on

“Sadly, this is right in our own backyard…you just never know the depths of depravity that human beings have the ability and desire to sink to.” ~ R.T.

Investigation in alleged neglect of 200 horses widens

Click image to view video

Click image to view video

CONROE, TexasA Montgomery County couple faces several counts of animal cruelty after local officials seized control over 200 horses from their property at the Premium Star Ranch near Conroe.

Herman Hoffman and Kathleen Hoffman were taken into custody just before 10 p.m. Wednesday at their ranch off League Line Road. They are each charged with three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to livestock. Bond has been set at $30,000 each.

County Attorney J.D. Lambright was among a small army of law officers who served a search warrant at the ranch around 2 p.m. Wednesday, including Montgomery County District Attorney Britt Ligon, deputy constables from Montgomery County Precinct 4 and 5, investigators from the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and two veterinarians.

“Some of the horses are thriving. There are obviously some that are not in good shape at all,” Ligon said.

Investigators seized the ranch business records and brought in a backhoe to dig for carcasses that may have been buried.

During a previous investigation in October, Precinct 5 deputy constables found malnourished horses on the ranch and ordered owner Herman Hoffman to comply with a reasonable standards of care.

The new investigation was sparked by the death of a 3-month-old colt over the weekend, as reported Tuesday by KPRC 2 News. The horse was rushed to a Navasota veterinarian clinic on Saturday by animal rescue volunteer Christal Griffiths but died a few hours later.

“He was extremely emaciated with rain rot, lice all over his body. He could barely walk, barely stand,” Griffith said. “He died within a few hours.”

Dr. Benjamin R. Buchanan said that the horse weighed 94 pounds at the time of death. A normal weight for a horse his age would have been between 150 to 175 pounds.

Buchanan stated in his report, “This colt appears to have been starved to the point of death.”

The district attorney also took statements from five former ranch employees, who told KPRC 2 News Tuesday more than 30 horses had died at the ranch since March due to neglect and malnutrition.

“Most of them are emaciated. Their tail bones are sticking out, their rib bones, their back bones, you name it. You can count every bone on their body,” former employee Kayla Kidd told KPRC 2 News Tuesday.

Ambulances were called for Herman Hoffman and Kathleen Hoffman, but only Herman was taken to the hospital to be checked out for chest pains.

Kidd and several other employees quit their jobs Saturday after they say Herman Hoffman fired two shots into the ground from a small caliber pistol after becoming angry. Hoffman said he fired the shots to demonstrate to his wife that the gun was loaded. Montgomery County Precinct 5 deputy constables responded to the disturbance but made no arrests.

Hoffman blames Kidd and the other employees for the colt’s death. He claims they didn’t give the horse appropriate feed as instructed and didn’t feed him regularly.

“They did not do what they were told,” Hoffman said. “They did not feed the animals they were told. They were lying to us.”

Hoffman admits about 10 horses have died on the ranch since January, but not the 30 plus claimed by former employees. He insists none of the horses died as a result of mistreatment.

Hoffman’s horse operation was investigated by Montgomery County Precinct 5 Constable David Hill in October after neighbor and former employee J.J. Hill alleged many horses were undernourished.

“I’ve been around horses my entire life. They’re not supposed to look that way. Period. They need proper foot care, proper feed, proper hay,” Hill said.

The district attorney is now trying to determine if any criminal violations have been committed since the October visit.

“We are looking for destruction of any evidence, tampering of any evidence, moving carcasses, those types of deals,” Ligon said.

Late Wednesday, a judge issued an order granting Montgomery County control over the animals, which will be kept on the property until the Houston SPCA can help find other housing.

Investigative Report: Eagle Pass Horse Slaughter Pens

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance Investigators recently completed an investigation at the Eagle Pass Export Pens and Mexico border. The investigation focused on the activity in relationship to the EU ban on horse meat from Mexico.

Release Date:

February 10, 2015

Report Date(s):

Jan 12, 2015 – Jan 16, 2015




Observe Eagle Pass Export Pens

[Run by the Texas Department of Agriculture]


Slaughter BoundInvestigators were at the Eagle Pass, Texas export pens to observe the impact on activity resulting from the approaching Jan 15 European Union [EU] regulation banning horse meat from Mexico. Despite the declaration that US horse meat is not safe for consumers, during the time the investigators were observing it appeared that there was no apparent change in the number of US equines sent to Mexico for slaughter.

During the entire week a total of 20 loads shipped to Mexico for slaughter. The number of shipments did not decrease after Jan 15, as had been anticipated. The day with the highest number of loads exported was Jan 16. The investigators also discovered during their time at the export pens that there were multiple violations of the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter regulations [9CFR88]. Specifically, violations of the mandatory 6-hour offload rest period for the horses were noted. The investigators also observed one violation of a rejected blind horse.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the investigators observed someone at the pens who appeared to be a USDA/APHIS Compliance Specialist for slaughter horse transportation. The investigators questioned the USDA to determine if there was a compliance officer present and are awaiting confirmation..

On Wednesday morning Jan. 14 the investigators contacted the USDA via email with questions regarding the EU ban and the responses were vague. The investigators contacted them again later in the week and informed them of violations that occurred during the week. They responded and indicated they were looking into it. On Friday the investigators contacted the USDA to inform them that they observed a hauler arriving too late for horses to get a 6-hour rest period and that this happened three times during the week. Later that day the investigators once again contacted them regarding a donkey that went down in a trailer being hauled by a regular pickup truck and was trampled by other equines. The animals all had slaughter tags.

Synopsis of Observations by the Investigators:

Monday Jan 12

  • The investigators observed three semi loads and two pick-up loads delivered to the pens and three semi loads departed the pens for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that only one load met the legal requirement of a 6-hour rest period before leaving.

Tuesday Jan 13

  • The investigators observed three semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that there was at least one violation per the 6-hour rest period requirement.

Wednesday Jan 14

  • The investigators observed four semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed the pens for Mexico. Note: it is possible the investigators missed a load arriving at the pens as the pens opened before the investigators arrived in the morning.
  • The investigators determined there are two violations, one violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement and one blind horse.

Thursday Jan 15

  • Two semi loads and several pickup truck loads were observed being dropped off at the pens.
  • Four semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that all loads, except the load that was dropped off at the pens the night before, were in violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement. The horses loaded for slaughter very early that day, making all loads dropped off during the morning and throughout the day in violation of the 6-hour requirement.

Friday Jan 16

  • Six semi loads and several pickup truck loads were delivered to the pens.
  • Five semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators believe one 6 hour rest period violation occurred before the [believed to be] USDA inspector arrived at the pens at 2:05p. No 6-hour rest violations appeared to have taken place after the person [believed to be] the USDA inspector arrived. The investigators believe this is because they informed the USDA of their findings.
  • At 2:40p a white pickup departed the pens hauling a mixture of horses, donkeys and burros. Upon leaving the pen property, a donkey fell down at the very back of the trailer. It tried to get up but could not. The investigators stopped the driver around the corner from the pens and informed them. They stopped but then continued on. The investigators followed them and watched the donkey struggle and get trampled by the other equines in the trailer. The investigators called law enforcement and provided information. At one point, the driver and passenger in the vehicle pulled over at a gas station and tried to get the donkey up. At that time the investigators observed a second animal down in the trailer. They did not succeed in getting the animals up and continued on. The investigators also called the Sheriff’s Department once the investigators left the town of Eagle Pass.
  • The investigators followed-up with Deputy Mario Garza of the Sheriff’s Department and were informed that the matter was taken care of. The investigators requested a report but were told that no report was ever made.
  • After the investigation was completed, multiple violations of 9CRF 88, USDA Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Regulations, were filed with USDA OIG.

Click (HERE) to download complete report with images