In mid-September 2013, we participated in the largest horse seizure in Essex County history involving 41 horses. After receiving a complaint and a photograph from a concerned citizen, the Essex County Sheriff’s office called us and asked us to pull together a team of horse handlers and trailers for a potential seizure involving an unknown number of horses. Led by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department as impounding agent, Crane Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, two licensed veterinarians, NYS Humane Association, and a team of friends and volunteers removed 41 living equine skeletons over a two day period from one property (sadly, we left behind many dead horses). Because our farm cannot accommodate that many horses at one time (we already had 15 horses on our property), we brought only the most fragile cases here. Three horses went to another private farm and all the others were taken to the Essex County Fairgrounds. The seizure brought our total charge to some 60 horses.
When word got out about the situation, the community jumped in….volunteers selflessly offered to clean stalls and feed; people donated hay, shavings, wheelbarrows, hoses, and buckets; the local 4-H and others lent round pens for turnout; two local farms took horses in foster care to lighten the load; and our friend, retired veterinarian Dr. Diane Dodd, dropped everything to oversee the horses’ veterinary needs.
The horses’ owners were charged with 41 counts of failing to provide sustenance under NYS Agriculture and Markets law and found guilty the following June (2014). As the only accredited humane organization in Essex County with a Domestic Animal Health Permit issued by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, CMVHR facilitated the adoption process of the horses. When we met with NYS Agriculture and Markets to review the paperwork, process and our record-keeping system, they asked us to write a manual for them to provide to other rescues, towns and counties for how to handle large seizures, and how to do it right. That was a nice pat on the back.
We are pleased to share that we were able to find wonderful homes for these horses in record-breaking time. Many of our adoptive parents came back to adopt additional horses and new friends stepped forward to say; "if you were brave enough to take on 41, the lease we can do is take one or two into our lives and do our part to save them".
This amazing effort was made possible through tireless work, dedication, commitment, a community rallying together, and the generous support of friends like you.
A not-for-profit organization for equine rescue and rehabilitation.