Universal Equine Microchip Look-Up Tool being Developed

Streamlining horse identification

Multiple equine organizations are working toward a goal of streamlining horse identification through technology.

The Equine Microchip Look-up Tool would provide a single universal source to identify a horse, based on its microchip number. It may help horse owners prove ownership, reunite them with their animals after a disaster, and help improve horse welfare.

Veterinarians recommend microchipping because it is safe, permanent, and an inexpensive solution for horse identification. A veterinarian implants the tiny chip into the horse’s nuchal ligament using a syringe.

Some, although, not all horse associations require microchipping in the United States.

Have you imported a horse from the European Union (EU)? If so, you probably know you have a chipped horse. That’s because the EU is the trendsetter when it comes to microchipping due to legal mandates.

Therefore, a universal look-up tool could streamline horse identification worldwide with equine industry cooperation. So, no matter where the horse originated or the horse’s breed, a quick search would allow users to identify the horse.

The American Horse Council is partnering with The Jockey Club to build the tool. Another group is assisting by providing grant funds.


Don’t Trust, Verify Like a Boss

originally published May 13, 2015

Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines

A successful criminal knows exactly what you want to hear.

That’s why Horse Authority provides access to accredited criminal background checks to help you identify those whose charisma may outweigh their ethical standards.

So, now you can now verify and hire like a boss – because if you don’t protect your horses, who will?

The FBI reports employee theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Criminal background checks offer an additional level of due diligence not attainable during interviews or reference checks. Save yourself time, money, and potential heartache.

Employee theft of horse funds

Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines knows the sting of losing more than $45,000 after a bad hire.

President Samuel Griffin says, “people assume others are nice or good, but that’s not always the case. You have to check up on them.”

Sarah Barnshaw was a convicted criminal hired by a non-profit without background check.
Sarah Barnshaw

The Pennsylvania non-profit hired a twenty-something to do office work in 2010.

Sarah Barnshaw was confident, charming, creative — and a convicted criminal. She worked as the organization’s sole controller until her firing in February 2012. The long-term home for horses terminated Barnshaw after her work declined, Griffin tells us.

Many in the equine industry choose to ignore that key step of screening individuals with background checks. Although, it would have likely uncovered that Barnshaw had convictions dating back to 2004.

“She is a dubious criminal, but you would have never known,” Griffin says. “You have to scratch a little deeper and that is where the problem lies.”

Chester County authorities charged Barnshaw in early 2014 with five felonies for the theft of the horse funds. After she failed to appear for trial in 2015, an arrest warrant was issued resulting in her November 2015 arrest.

Barnshaw pleaded guilty to felony theft by unlawful taking in 2017. She is out on probation after serving time behind bars.

“It is something we take seriously,” Griffin says. “We got burned and we learned.” He confirms background checks are now a part of the horse sanctuary’s hiring process.

A 2017 study found 96% of mainstream employers in the U.S. conduct at least one type of background screening.

Albeit, just like people, not all background checks are created equal. Online offers for free, instant results mean you’re dealing with less reliable data. 

Instead, use the equine industry’s exclusive source for background checks provided by the same firm utilized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

This comprehensive screening tool is kind of like insurance although it helps you before things go awry. It provides social security verification, an address trace, a hands-on local criminal record search, a national search across all 50 states, and sex offender registry search – all for only $35.

That’s less than a bottle of fly spray, but the value is far greater because it affords you peace of mind.

For a few more bucks, add a motor vehicle record check (MVR)  to ensure your candidate has a driver’s license to confirm a person’s identity. It offers a second identification method.


Find out more about:

› the pre-employment vetting of candidates for horse-related jobs,

› screening potential horse adopters while generating donations for your horse rescue,

› the due diligence of horse-related volunteers when young equestrians or money are involved,

› and vetting of horse associations’ “professional horsemen” or “certified” horseback riding instructors, etc.



Rita Crundwell Makes Netflix Debut

published August 8, 2017

All the Queen’s Horses

A true crime documentary about the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history is now on Netflix. The film All The Queen’s Horses looks at how Rita Crundwell stole $53 million from a midwestern town without anyone noticing.

The former American Quarter Horse breeder siphoned millions from the small town of Dixon, IL. It happened during Crundwell’s more than 20-year career as the town’s comptroller. The stolen funds financed Crundwell’s extravagant horse show lifestyle while leaving the town in financial straits.

The documentary’s filmmaker Kelly Richmond Pope, Ph.D., CPA, is a forensic accounting expert. She began interviewing people immediately after Crundwell’s April 2012 arrest.
Pope says Crundwell knew she had absolute control stemming from no oversight. There were also no checks and balances in place. “Internal controls are critical in any industry.”
For the first time, the whistleblower in the case discusses how the ordeal impacted her life.

Crundwell is serving an almost 20-year federal prison sentence. She still owes Dixon $43 million even after the Feds sold her horses, properties, and everything she owned, including her AQHA trophies, according to one estimate.

Crundwell pays restitution monthly from the money she is paid for working in prison. It adds up to less than $70 monthly.

Pope says Crundwell receives no funds from the project.

The documentary premiered last August.


View Rita Crundwell Case

See Names of Rita Crundwell’s horses


Equine Disease Alerts: August

7 More Wyoming Quarantines due to EIA Exposure



Wyoming officials have quarantined seven more premises due to EIA exposure. 

It comes after an EIA positive horse from Colorado was shipped illegally to Wyoming.

Horses in five counties including Sweetwater, Lincoln, Teton, Park, and Fremont counties were exposed. Officials add that an additional four horses are still being traced in Natrona and Laramie counties.

The EIA positive horse was transported illegally from Colorado to a Sweetwater County premises. At that location, 41 horses were exposed to the deadly disease.

The remaining exposed horses had contact with the Colorado horse before it shipped to Wyoming, according to the state. Additionally, all but two of these exposed horses were imported illegally to Wyoming as well.


EIA Positive Horse in Colorado

Weld County, CO

August 28, 2018


Colorado officials confirm a Weld County horse tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). 

The facility that houses the horse is under a state-ordered quarantine restricting all movement. The affected horse is isolated from the other horses at the facility. Those horses are under observation.


EIA Positive Horse Moved from CO to WY

Sweetwater County, WY

August 27, 2018


Colorado agriculture officials notify the Wyoming Livestock Board about an Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) positive horse. That’s because a transporter hauled it to Sweetwater County, WY.

A veterinarian pulled blood for the Coggins Test although the horse shipped out of the state prior to the return of the test. Additionally, the horse didn’t have an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

The EIA positive horse spent six days in Sweetwater County before it returned to Colorado. Wyoming quarantined the premises containing 41 exposed horses. The state quarantined the horses.

None of the horses are racehorses, according to officials.

Another two exposed horses from the Colorado premises were shipped to Lincoln County with a negative Coggins. They remain under quarantine and face retesting.




EIA Kills 4 More Texas Horses

McLennan, Wilson, and Ector Counties, Texas

August 14, 2018


Texas officials confirm two horses at a quarantined McLennan County premises tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). A veterinarian euthanized both horses. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) quarantined that facility in July after a Quarter Horse tested positive for EIA.

Additionally, a horse located at a Wilson County quarantined premises tested positive for the contagious disease sometimes known as swamp fever. In June, two horses tested positive for EIA. Veterinarians destroyed those three horses.

Another county is now on the EIA map – Ector County. That’s because a Quarter Horse at a farm is positive. The three locations remain under quarantine.

Officials stress good biosecurity practices to help prevent the blood-borne disease. There is no cure or vaccine for the prevention of the disease.


Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Deadly for Georgia Horses

Lamar County, Georgia

August 6, 2018


Georgia officials confirm three horses in Lamar County tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). A veterinarian euthanized the horses since there is no cure for the blood-borne disease.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture confirms another state’s EIA trace identified the infected horses. Furthermore, this is an ongoing case and investigation also involving the USDA, Julie McPeake a spokeswoman for the state agency tells us.

Officials quarantined the herd and will follow-up in 60-days.

The disease, also called swamp fever, affects horses, donkeys, and mules. Additionally, there is no vaccine to prevent EIA. Biting insects typically transmit EIA although the use of infected needles can also transmit EIA from equine to equine.

EIA reaks havoc on the equine immune system. Clinical signs of EIA include fever, weakness, weight loss, anemia, edema, and death.

To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good horse facility sanitation and testing new equine residents with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property.

All infected equines, even those that are asymptomatic are carriers of the disease.

Quarantining new equines for 45 days, away from current equine residents, is necessary to keep a healthy stable of horses. That’s because affected equines can carry the disease without symptoms for years.




Evan Coluccio Rides Course to Jail on Felony Charges

Unmasking Evan Coluccio

A Virginia horse trainer remains in jail without bond Thursday after allegedly evading authorities, until he caused an accident then fled by foot.

Loudoun County Sheriff deputies responded to a crash Friday, July 27 in Chantilly. The report states the car’s driver Evan M. Coluccio, 30, of Marshall fled the scene as deputies arrived. It was during his attempt to evade authorities that Coluccio struck another occupied vehicle.

Evan Coluccio mugshot 2018 felony charges loudoun county 10/29/1987
Evan Coluccio remains in jail without bond.

The EMC International Stables owner fled the accident scene before bolting from his vehicle on foot. Deputies located Coluccio’s vehicle near Loudoun County Parkway before arresting him.

The Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s office charged the hunter/jumper professional with two counts of felony hit and run, felony eluding, driving with a suspended license, and possession of marijuana. Coluccio may face additional charges.

In 2008, the state charged Coluccio with driving with a suspended license. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving without a driver’s license and paid a $100 fine plus costs. It isn’t clear what caused his suspended license so subsequent document searches beyond ten years are necessary. Expect an update soon.

Coluccio currently has active criminal cases in at least two more states.

Maryland officials issued a bench warrant for Coluccio’s arrest in late May after he failed to appear for a probation violation hearing. It stems from an April 2017 drug case. He was charged with drug possession [not marijuana] and possession of drug paraphernalia. The prosecutor dropped the second charge meanwhile Coluccio pleaded guilty to drug possession last fall.

Batman or a joker?

What do two silver necklaces valued at $39.98, two pairs of Converse Sneakers for $91.99, and two bottles of cologne at $65 have in common with Coluccio? Authorities accuse Coluccio of stealing the retail items from a West Palm Beach Kohl’s in May.

The probable cause affidavit states the store’s loss prevention officer was watching a man described as Coluccio putting the items into his backpack. As the deputy arrived, he states the Kohl’s officer was running after the suspect. Upon exiting his vehicle the deputy stopped Coluccio and handcuffed him.

The items Coluccio allegedly shoplifted were retrieved from his backpack. The total value was $210.76 including tax. Coluccio faces a single count of retail theft. He pleaded not guilty.

Albeit, this is the same horse PRO promoting the sale of top sporthorses and ponies with price tags most likely in the five to six-figure range.

So is Coluccio, who calls himself “Batman,” after one of his early horses, acting the part of a superhero or a joker?

You decide, tell us here!



View Case


Pony Breeder Charged after Stallion Allegedly Starved

New York’s Holly Stanley

A New York pony breeder is facing two counts of animal cruelty after allegedly starving a pony stallion.

New York State Police arrested Holly C. Stanley, 45, Tuesday night at the Millbrook farm she rents. Authorities processed the Bayridge Farm & Show Stables owner at the Dutchess County Jail before her arraignment. The state filed two misdemeanor animal cruelty counts. Consequently, the statute includes the torture and failure to provide an animal sustenance.

Holly C. Stanley is charged with animal cruelty
Holly C. Stanley is charged with animal cruelty
Gayfields Too Cool in emaciated condition after being in Holly Stanley's care
Gayfield’s Way Too Cool in emaciated condition after allegedly being starved in Holly Stanley’s care

State police spokesman Trooper Aaron Hicks tells Horse Authority that investigators began looking into allegations that Stanley neglected at least two ponies in early July.

Stanley leased the 23-year-old Welsh Pony Stallion Gayfield’s Way Too Cool from his owner. She offered the proven producer of champion ponies at stud for $1000. Trooper Hicks says a vet report from Rhinebeck Equine reports the pony had a “lack of sustenance and medical care.”

A veterinarian euthanized Cool in the spring.

Kerri Emerson authorized the removal of her 19-year-old pony mare Blue Bayou from Stanley’s care when she was notified regarding the pony’s low body weight. Stanley was free leasing Emerson’s mare for breeding purposes, although the pony didn’t take.

Emerson’s attorney Philip Wolf tells us Blue Bayou recovered despite the ordeal. “All it took was hay and water.” After a few weeks, the pony’s condition improved dramatically. Stanley allegedly abused horses elsewhere, Wolf says.

Stanley is out on $10,000 bond as of Wednesday at 6 p.m. She is scheduled to be back in court on August 28.

The state is processing our document request so look for more information soon. If you have documents or something you’d like to share, send us a news tip!


View Case





Equine Disease Alerts: July

Horse Health

After years of providing in-depth coverage of equine disease alerts when they happen, we’re trying something new. It’s our goal to provide you with details you won’t find elsewhere about each case, although you’ll find the information in a central location by month.

Your feedback is welcome and encouraged during this time.


EIA Positive Leads to Western Canada Quarantine

Great Bend, Saskatchewan, Canada

July 20, 2018


A veterinarian sampled blood from a Saskatchewan horse confirming a positive case of equine infectious anemia (EIA).

Canadian officials report that the Great Bend horse traveled frequently throughout the province competing. The veterinarian didn’t note any clinical signs of the highly contagious disease.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is investigating. Additionally, it quarantined the premises and any on-premises contact animals. It remains in effect until the disease response activities are completed, which includes the euthanasia of positive horses, and any trace-out activities to additional locations.

Biting insects typically transmit EIA which is a blood-borne illness. The use of infected needles can also transmit EIA from horse to horse.

To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good sanitation, testing new horses with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property, and quarantining new horses for 45 days.

EIA is also called swamp fever. There is no cure or vaccine.



EIA Deadly for 2 More Texas Horses

Dallas and McLennan Counties, Texas

July 13, 2018


Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) proves deadly for two more Texas horses bringing the count to 9 since March.

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirm veterinarians euthanized a Standardbred in Dallas County and a Quarter Horse in McLennan County. Now, both premises are quarantined as the state helps monitor the premises’ horses and implement biosecurity.

Since March, the state’s animal health commission reports 10 other horses have been confirmed positive with EIA, including:

  • 1 Quarter Horse in Maverick County – (quarantined)
  • 1 Quarter Horse in Bexar County (euthanized)
  • 3 Horses in Bastrop County (euthanized)
  • 2 Quarter Horses in Wilson County (euthanized)
  • 2 Quarter Horses in Kaufman County – (quarantined)
  • 1 Quarter Horse in Dallas County (euthanized)


The often fatal disease affects horses, donkeys, and mules. No other animals or humans can contract the virus.

Symptoms include fever, depression, weight loss, swelling, and anemia.

A Coggins test is utilized to determine the presence of EIA. Under Texas law, any horse over 8 months old traveling to an event, being sold or entering the state must have a negative Coggins within the last 12 months.




Maryland Horse Euthanized: Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) 

Montgomery County, Maryland
July 10, 2018

Maryland agriculture officials confirm a horse stabled in Montgomery County tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).

A veterinarian’s routine wellness exam that included a blood draw for a Coggins test confirmed the diagnosis by the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa. The veterinarian euthanized the EIA infected horse.

There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA.

Although the infected horse did not display any clinical symptoms it was a carrier of the disease.

The state veterinarian placed the farm on a 60-day investigational hold order. Veterinarians are testing the remaining 42 stablemates of the index horse now and again in 60-days.

To help prevent the disease, veterinarians recommend insect control, good horse facility sanitation, testing new equines with a Coggins test before bringing them onto your property, and quarantining new equines for 45 days.

There are no treatment options for infected horses so the United States Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for horses testing positive for EIA. Studies show that a 200-yard separation between an isolated positive EIA and other horses prevents transmission of the disease.


Nebraska Horse Euthanized: EHV-1

Buffalo County, Nebraska
July 9, 2018
Nebraska’s State Veterinary office reports a neurologic horse located in Buffalo County tested positive for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) leading to its euthanasia.

EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses. Dennis Hughes State Veterinarian reminds horse owners to always use biosecurity practices.

Additionally, the facility voluntarily quarantined itself and put biosecurity measures in place.

Oklahoma Horse Rescue and $10K Fine

Kay County, Oklahoma
July 5, 2018

An Oklahoma horse rescue may feel the financial sting after bringing a horse into the state without a Coggins.

Michael Herrin, Assistant State Veterinarian at Oklahoma Department of Agriculture tells us, the penalty under the state statute for doing so, “ranges from $100 to $10,000 per day, per animal.”
Furthermore, the agency states the horse tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA) and was traveling without a Health Certificate.
Due to the positive blood pull, a veterinarian euthanized the 16-year-old Quarter Horse mare that originated from Alabama. Oklahoma agriculture officials tell us they don’t know the name of the “horse sale barn” or if the horse came from a kill pen. It is also unclear if a professional horse transporter or individual hauled the horse into the state.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture quarantined the horse rescue. When asked, the state said it cannot divulge the rescue’s name due to state law. There are a couple of exceptions including if the state veterinarian deems it is necessary to protect the well-being of the public or domestic animals or by a court order.
This is the first case of EIA in Oklahoma in 2018.

Canada: Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) Case

Ponoka County, Alberta, Canada
July 4, 2018
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) national lab confirms an Alberta horse tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA).
A veterinarian pulled blood from the horse located in Ponoka County to comply with the United State’s import requirements. The horse was asymptomatic.
The agency’s investigation includes a quarantine of the premises, follow-up testing, and the euthanization of all positive horses. CFIA’s actions may include additional premises due to trace-out procedures.

Pony Death Prompts Animal Cruelty Charges at Horse ‘Sanctuary’

Dead Pony

The owner of Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary in Waterford, N.J. faces more than 60 counts of animal cruelty and neglect.

A pony’s death precipitated events that landed Sarah Rabinowitz (Mognoni), 62, in trouble with the law. That’s because Rabinowitz allegedly failed to acknowledge or make changes to help her non-profit’s horses.

Veterinarians euthanized at least two horses on site since last Tuesday, due to the animals’ poor prognoses.

Rabinowitz touts the farm’s “natural setting” with an “eco-friendly approach to property and facilities.”

Although, the barren acreage, overcrowded with horses is seen differently by some. That’s because horses stand riddled with flies stomping the dirt without reprieve as their tails work overtime.

An aerial photo of the herd at Labrador Equine Sanctuary in New Jersey
The horse’s body is designed for eating grass and other vegetation. They graze then move in the wild.

Authorities executed a search warrant at Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary, which is operated by Rabinowitz, just over a week ago. As a result of the search, a court order requires that she immediately fix “insufficient water sources and inadequate shelter” on the property.

Court documents obtained by Horse Authority state approximately 75 animals were on the property including horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, and two goats.

Horse health hazards

Investigators documented various hazards during the search, including:

  • – “inadequate water or no water
  • – “inadequate shelter”
  • – 28 of 29 horses examined by the NJ Department of Agriculture were dehydrated,
  • – additionally, the 29 horses had both inadequate water and shelter,
  • – pony with a “severe leg injury”,
  • – two horses with eye injuries,
  • – toxic plants, including jimsonweed, pigweed, and morning weed,
  • – “numerous” hay bales in the main pasture had netting around them (if horses eat netting, it is deadly),
  • – flashing exposed on outside of a barn,
  • – boards laying on the ground with exposed nails,
  • – along with exposed nails and broken fence rails.


Camden County prosecutors charged Rabinowitz with 57 counts of fourth-degree causing bodily injury to an animal. She also faces five counts of animal cruelty. The complaint states Rabinowitz “knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to a living animal or creature by failing to provide the living animal or creature with [the] necessary care…”

Rabinowitz was arrested and released pending court on Tuesday, July 24th.

Additionally, Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley signed an order allowing horse owners to remove their animals from Labrador Hill.

Those interested in doing so must first contact Investigator Timothy Lyons of the Waterford Township Police with proof of ownership, which is a Bill of Sale.

JR before brought to NJ equine sanctuary owner accused of animal cruelty Sarah Rabinowitz
JR before going to Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary run by Sarah Rabinowitz.
JR leaves Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary emaciated
JR leaves Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary in an emaciated state despite arriving in good flesh.

Horse rescues placed horses here, too

After a heatwave in late June, Weekstown resident Ellen Strack tells us she received a photo of a pony’s body in a paddock with its herd at Labrador Hill Equine Sanctuary. Rigor mortis had already set in. The carcass allegedly remained there for a day.

Strack says Rabinowitz was always personable on social media although she doesn’t know her. Strack operates South Jersey Horse Rescue, which, “sent two truckloads of hay [to Labrador Hill] about 2 years ago.” It was winter and Strack was helping another rescue locally.

After receiving the dead pony photo, Strack says she offered Rabinowitz help. Strack’s offer got her an invitation to the farm although Rabinowitz wanted a different type of assistance. “She wanted me to testify for her as zoning issues were taking her to court [sic].”

A horse allegedly neglected by Sarah Rabinowitz.
One of the horses allegedly neglected by Sarah Rabinowitz.

To illustrate, more than two times the number of horses authorized live on what Strack describes as “15 filthy acres.”

On July 9th, Strack and two volunteers offered Rabinowitz help again. They drove over with four bags of horse feed and chopped timothy hay.

Strack says what she witnessed on the farm, including a lack of basic horse husbandry, is concerning. She cleaned horses’ wounds although Rabinowitz wouldn’t allow her to spray the horses with fly repellant.

“She [Rabinowitz] said they [the horses] don’t get dinner and hay is enough for horses to survive,” Strack says. Additionally, she says Rabinowitz blamed the horses’ conditions on old age. “She [Rabinowitz] told me the donkeys were at fault for contracting EPM [equine protozoal myeloencephalitis]…” and that “many horses died there probably from EPM or Lymes”.

Two days later Strack contacted authorities after she says her final plea went unanswered.

“I tried to be kind and understanding to Sarah, but she insisted the horses were fine… and she needed no help.”

It is unclear if Rabinowitz has a veterinarian for routine health care. The non-profit’s 2016 tax records show $3,875 was spent on veterinary care for a reported 52 horses. The organization spent almost as much on landscaping — $2,377.

Sarah Rabinowitz responds

Rabinowitz responded to our message with questions regarding the non-profit. The defendant asserts she is the victim of, “death threats, a wholly false and subversive personal and professional character attack [sic],” on social media and in the press.

Rabinowitz also blames, “a level of hate from Ms. Strack and her followers that must appear suspicious to intelligent observers.”

The art teacher turned self-proclaimed horse expert and horsemanship riding instructor asserts her commitment to an “aggressive defense in court and the safety of the animals”.

Strack and others in the horse community are asking prosecutors to prohibit Rabinowitz from future horse ownership if she is found guilty or takes a deal.

“What is most disturbing to me is her complete lack of awareness … and her ignoring the obvious suffering of the animals,” Strack adds.

Stay with us for much more on this developing story.


View Court Documents   posting soon


Childhood Animal Abusers Likely Abused: Researchers

The animal cruelty cycle

Children who abuse animals are up to three times more likely to be victims of abuse themselves. 

The true prevalence of childhood animal abusers is unknown. Although, researchers report up to 44% of children have abused an animal as a child. The authors suspect the actual rate of childhood animal abusers is higher although parents may not report the incidents.

The study defines animal cruelty as “socially unacceptable behavior that intentionally causes unnecessary pain, suffering or distress to and/or death of an animal.” The type of animal is not defined.

Researchers published their findings in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Specifically, they found that when a child older than 10-years-old is abusing animals it may indicate the child is abused.

Reports estimate 1 million animals are abused/killed in domestic violence incidents yearly

Reports of girls abusing animals are less prevalent than boys, although they suggest girls who abuse animals are part of a wider family abuse problem.

Other research shows childhood animal abusers are more likely to also harm people later in life.

The FBI correlates animal abuse with interpersonal, human-to-human violence.

For more, go to First They Tortured Animals, Then They Turned to Humans.


FDA Warns: Health Risks for People Exposed to Altrenogest

Synthetic progesterone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that exposure when treating a horse with synthetic progesterone may cause serious health risks. The drug may cause adverse events, including reproductive system disorders, which have occurred in teenage girls.

Altrenogest suppresses estrus in mares. Merck and other companies market the horse progestins as:

  • Regu-Mate or Regumate,
  • OvaMed,
  • and Altren.


The equine products are available with a veterinarian’s prescription. They are administered orally by applying directly on the base of the mare’s tongue or on the mare’s feed.

Altrenogest exposure

The FDA reports it received 130 reports of accidental human exposure to altrenogest products from October 6, 1987, to May 30, 2018. Additionally, the majority of complaints [121] concerned Regu-Mate.

Furthermore, 137 people reported adverse effects, including 18 teenage girls. Some were as young as 14-years-old. Exposure often involved the drug making contact with the skin. Although, some reported product residue exposure from barn surfaces, equipment, and treated animals.

Reproductive adverse effects reported in females include abnormal or absent menstrual cycles, and in men include decreased libido. Other adverse effects reported include headaches, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and rashes.


Intact skin absorbs Regu-mate. Pregnant and women of childbearing age should exercise extreme caution, according to the FDA, if they can’t avoid handling the drug. Anyone working with Regumate should wear non-porous gloves.

The FDA and Merck are discussing package labeling modifications to enhance product safety. Merck owns the rights to Regu-mate.

If approved, the changes would have to be made to the other products as well due to the law.


EHV Cases Confirmed in California Horses: Quarantine

Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) case

California officials imposed a quarantine at a San Mateo County horse facility after testing confirmed that a pony is positive for EHM. Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) is the neurological form of EHV-1 (equine herpes virus).

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) says the 15-year-old mare displayed neurologic signs prior to the diagnosis. Horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1 show clinical signs that typically include mild incoordination, hind end weakness, and loss of bladder function.

Another mare from the property, a 24-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse spiked a fever and tested positive for EHV-1. It can cause respiratory disease, abortion in mares, neonatal foal death and neurological disease.



EHV is contagious

EHV-1 is highly contagious with an incubation period of 2 to 10 days. Clinical signs include fever, nasal discharge, depression, cough, lack of appetite, and potentially enlarged lymph nodes.

Veterinarians recommend vaccinating against EHV-1 to help prevent the virus. Although, there is no current vaccine that prevents the neurological manifestation of the infection.

Respiratory shedding of the virus generally occurs for 7-10 days. It may persist longer in infected horses. For this reason, a 21-day isolation period for horses confirmed positive with EHM is recommended along with stringent biosecurity protocols.

Similar to herpes viruses in other species, the latent form of EHV-1 can reactivate at a later date, but generally with a low viral load posing a low risk of infecting other horses.

Humans are not at risk of contracting the virus, however, humans can act as an indirect mode of transmission. Veterinarians recommend limiting horse to horse contact and horse to human to horse contact. They also add, avoid communal water sources at horse shows and other horse facilities. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials, including shoes, brushes, tack, and more.

Hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and sunlight neutralize the virus.

EHM is a reportable disease in California.

Equestrians Cuoco and Cook Officially KCSQUARED

Kaley Cuoco marries Cook

It’s official!

The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco married fellow equestrian Karl Cook in San Diego Saturday. After, Cuoco announced their nuptials last night on Instagram with “Legally KCSQUARED 6-30-18.”

A photo captures the newlyweds kissing in a well-appointed horse barn beautifully decorated for the lace-inspired day. Cuoco wore a white lace wedding gown with a full-length cape for dramatic flair by Reem Acra.

Both animal lovers, they included their horses and dogs on their special day. Additionally, reminders of that bond were visible, including a horseshoe alter. Others were shared with their closest friends and family in attendance.

Afterward, it was time for Mrs. Kaley Cook to slip into something more comfortable for the remainder of the evening. Continuing the lace theme, she opted for a Tadashi Shoji pantsuit and a high ponytail. Nothing is getting in the way of this newlywed’s good time.

“Good morning honey, I love you, and I’m sorry,” Cook professed on Instagram Sunday after an early morning of wedding bliss. “I am still processing the greatest night of my life marrying the love of my life! I mean god damn that dress was amazing!”

And Cuoco’s fans agree!

The pair began dating in 2016 after meeting at a horse show. They were engaged on December 1, 2017 – Cuoco’s 32nd birthday.



Featured photo: Thanks to @laurentatumevents


Legally KCSQUARED 6-30-18 ❤

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Ok let’s party!!! #kcsquared ? ?

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Toxic Plant in Utah Hay Blamed for 9 Horse Deaths

Equisetum toxicity in horses

Nine horses died in Utah after eating hay contaminated with a toxic plant less than two weeks ago.

Equisetum or "horsetail" is a fern like-plant toxic to horses. There are more than 15 species of horsetail so it's not unique to Utah.
Equisetum or “horsetail” is fernlike and toxic to horses. It has two types of stems, one that is unfertile (above) and one that is fertile (right).

Veterinarians confirm the Wellington-area horses ate hay baled unknowingly with equisetum. As a result, the hay masked the less palatable toxic plant. Commonly called “horsetail,” horses are highly susceptible to illness or death due to equisetum toxicity when consumed in large amounts.

Horsetail contains an enzyme that prevents the body from producing thiamine (vitamin B1). Thiamine plays a vital role in the horse’s central and peripheral nervous system. In other words, thiamine deficiency causes neurologic damage, which may lead to recumbency, and the horse’s eventual death, if untreated.

Veterinarians treated the Carbon County farm’s herd for thiamine deficiency, but for some, it was too late.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food wasn’t notified regarding the horses’ contaminated hay deaths. Doug Perry the state ag agency’s public information officer says, “if it’s not commercial feed then there is no inspection or regulation.” Therefore, he adds, there is no reporting requirement unless horses die after eating hay purchased commercially.

Horsetail is toxic to horses and has two types of stems. This one is fertile with a cone-like structure containing spores, not seeds.
Fertile horsetail stems have a cone-like structure containing spores. Horsetail has 15+ species found worldwide.

Horsetail poisoning treatment

Once horsetail poisoning is suspected, horses should no longer eat equisetum contaminated hay.

Veterinarians treat equisetum toxicity in horses with thiamine hydrochloride intravenously for several days. Antibiotic, fluids, and electrolytes may be necessary to prevent infection and dehydration. After, veterinarians may prescribe oral thiamine or thiamine injections.

Good farm management practices can help prevent this and other poisonous plants from growing in your horse pastures.

Before growing horse hay, consider investing in a crop scout. A crop scout inspects fields for various pests and weeds in order to increase hay yield and quality. This will keep your horses happy and healthier longer.




UPDATE: Stanley, Sadler Sentenced in Animal Cruelty Case

No jail time

A Louisiana judge sentenced two men after they both pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty in April.

Judge Carl V. Sharp sentenced Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler to 3-years probation and a $5,000 fine each. The judge will reassess their probation in a year’s time.

In 2016, a video made headlines and sparked controversy when Stanley and Sadler slit a dog’s throat. Many animal lovers are outraged by the sentence and the message it sends to other would be animal abusers.

Casey Lynn says on social media, “Are you kidding me! Now people know they will get away with it down there and continue to do such horrible acts!”

Both faced up to 10-years in prison and a $25,000 fine.


Dog named “Justice”

published September 20, 2016

Two Arkansas men were arraigned in a Louisiana court Tuesday for allegedly slitting a dog’s throat.A Snapchat video went viral in August 2016 that the defendants Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler took of themselves killing the dog now known as "Justice".

Both defendants, Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler pleaded not guilty to two felonies, aggravated animal cruelty, and conspiracy.

A Snapchat video went viral in late August that the defendants took while killing a white and brown dog. It shows the animal suffocating on its own blood.

The cruelty allegedly occurred at the Bastrop Louisiana Kill Pen, owned by Stanley Bros. Horse Company.

Defendant Boots Stanley works at the kill pen, owned by his uncle, Mitch Stanley and his father, Greg Stanley. The Stanleys are “kill buyers” who ship horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughter plants.

Blowback is hitting the men due to their exploits. The Arkansas Dog Hunters Association (ADHA) took swift action following the dog’s allegedly torturous death. Association president Jeromy Sullivent released the following statement:

The Association Board met at a special[ly] called meeting to address the issues pertaining to the videoed execution of a dog by two association members in Ashley County, Arkansas. A resolution was unanimously passed condemning the event, terminating the membership of the members involved and committing the Association’s assistance toward a complete law enforcement investigation and prosecution. 

Stanley, a member of ADHA, is banned from the organization for life, as is Sadler, although he is not a member.

The animal cruelty defendants will be back in court on December 5 for a preliminary hearing. A judge will decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial after hearing evidence from both sides.

If found guilty, each man could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.


Kill Pen Employee Charged with Animal Cruelty

Oregon Horse Sues Former Animal Abuser for $100K

Can Justice sue formerly abusive owner – and win?

An Oregon horse named Justice is suing his formerly abusive owner to recover costs of more than $100,000. Any funds awarded in the case would pay for the on-going medical needs of the rescued 8-year-old Quarter Horse cross.

Specifically, Justice’s prior owner neglected, abused, and abandoned him allowing the gelding to become emaciated without food or water. Additionally, the horse suffers the permanent effects of frostbite, including a prolapsed penis. Documents state “Justice will likely eventually require surgical intervention in the form of a partial amputation of his penis.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund with legal assistance from the firm Lane Powell and the Law Office of Matt Hamity represent the horse in the civil case brought in the Circuit Court of Washington County. The animal legal advocacy group says, if successful, the suit would establish that animals have a legal right to sue their abusers.

Defendant Gwendolyn Vercher

A court sentenced Justice’s abuser defendant Gwendolyn Vercher, 51, of Cornelius to three years probation. She pleaded guilty in July 2017 to first-degree animal neglect. As a part of Vercher’s criminal plea agreement, she agreed to pay restitution to Sound Equine Options. The restitution was supposed to cover Justice’s care prior to her conviction. Although, that didn’t happen, according to the ALDF.

Justice’s guardian Kim Mosiman is the Executive Director of the horse rescue Sound Equine Options in Troutdale. As a plaintiff, she represents Justice’s interests in the suit. Mosiman created the Justice Equine Trust. The lawsuit contends the gelding’s costs and complicated medical needs are a barrier to finding the horse a home.

ALDF states the Oregon legislature and courts have been a leader in recognizing that animals are sentient beings. Additionally, the Oregon Supreme Court recognized that animals should be considered individual “victims” in criminal animal cruelty cases.

“Oregon law already recognizes Justice’s right to be free from cruelty – this lawsuit simply expands the remedies available when abusers violate animals’ legal rights,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells.

We left a message for Vercher and will let you know if we hear back. Stay with us as we continue following this case.

Click below to read the civil case documents.


View Horse Sues Former Abusive Owner Civil Complaint


FEI Slaps American Eventers with 12-mo Doping Ban

Three American Eventers Banned

The FEI Tribunal has approved settlement agreements leading to a 12-month anti-doping ban for three American eventers.

Samples pulled from the U.S.A.’s Alyssa Phillips, Hannah Burnett, and Jennie Brannigan at the Ocala-Reddick CCI in Florida last November were positive for Amfetamine. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) has the stimulant listed as a prohibited substance. Therefore, Amfetamine is prohibited in competition.

Brannigan’s test also showed the presence of Methylphenidate and Ritalinic Acid. Similarly, Phillips’ sample also contained Canrenone.

The women were prescribed medications containing the active substances. Although, they did not take the necessary steps to fill out the correct paperwork prior to the competition.

“All three athletes were able to prove no significant fault or negligence and the circumstances of the cases show that none of them had the intention to dope,” FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch said.

The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) provisionally suspended the three on December 21, 2017, under the FEI Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA). That is when the athletes learned about the allegations.

Therapeutic Use Exemption Application

Did you know that doctors diagnose more than 3 million cases a year of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States?

For equestrians competing on the international stage, their medications require a  Therapeutic Use Exemption Application. These may include prescriptions to treat ADHD, depression, asthma, and neurological disorders.



Anti-doping Settlement Terms

The settlement between the FEI, the global governing body for equestrian sport, and the athletes means they agreed to the following terms. The athletes’ ban ends November 18, 2018. Each athlete must pay a $1500 fine and all parties bear their own legal costs.

The riders’ competition results from the CCI are invalid.

The athletes agree to support the FEI in its anti-doping campaign. They must also complete an educational course on the subject.

When intentional, athletes can face up to a four-year FEI-doping ban.

The FEI notified the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of the FEI Tribunal decisions.

Cowgirl Boldly Saves Horse on TX Highway [VIDEO]

Horse Flees Via Highway

Ever feel like you just need to run away? Just escape from life?

Maybe things got too overwhelming for this Quarter Horse at his Texas stable so he left it all behind. Who doesn’t know that horses aren’t the most rational thinkers? In the game of life, they are all flight.

A video shows the loose horse saddled and fleeing down U.S. Route 59 in Houston. Of course, he may have been running away because of the purple nylon bridle his owner purchased. Maybe the gelding was hoping for something more flashy to help his eyes pop — say in teal?

And where is the person previously sitting in that saddle? One wrong bridle choice – poof, your backside is in the dirt and your horse goes rogue before hitting the highway.

Seriously, hopefully, the rider is unharmed both physically and mentally after this event.

This highway horse is lucky to be alive thanks to some amazing horse people in two vehicles. Not only did they get him to slow, while keeping him straight, but one amazingly chill cowgirl managed to catch him while he continued running. She looks like she saves highway horses daily.

Enjoy two views captured on video of this epic horse rescue thanks to those who participated and witnessed it.

Cowgirl Saves Horse

Don’t forget to like and share this article with your friends because everything we do is to improve horse welfare. Even a share can make a difference.


Owner Charged after 60 Ponies Neglected: Iowa Officials

Lemontree Welsh Ponies

update May 24, 2018

The owner of Lemontree Welsh is facing animal neglect charges after Iowa police officials uncovered almost 60 maltreated ponies. During Thursday’s seizure, they also found two ponies dead at the Earlham horse property.

Jim Lemon, 63, faces three citations for livestock neglect and another two for failing to dispose of animal remains. Lemon and his wife Teresa once actively bred the Welsh Ponies for the horse show ring.

Earlham Police Chief Jason Heimdal tells us his office was initially contacted by county law enforcement because the ponies were getting out and going onto someone else’s property. Further investigation revealed more than five dozen ponies had no access to food or water.

Police seized the nine ponies with the most serious health issues. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is caring for them.

The crippling effects of neglect are visibly evident by one pony’s 21-inch overgrown hooves that turn upward into her flesh. The lack of long-term hoof care makes walking difficult and painful. Instead of a normal hoof, the pony has what some call “elf shoes” or “elf slippers”.



Ponies Neglected for Years

“Seeing ponies in these conditions is heartbreaking, and they clearly did not get this way overnight. There is absolutely no excuse for what these ponies have gone through,” said Tom Colvin, Chief Executive Officer for the ARL.

The emaciated range in age from less than a year-old to 31-years-old. Subsequently, they have a variety of health problems including hair loss, dental issues due to a lack of teeth floating, and other health ailments. ARL adds in a statement that some of the ponies were kept in horse stalls with three to four feet of manure. Additionally, they found one in a stall with the body of one of the deceased ponies that “had been dead awhile”.

“There is absolutely no excuse for what these ponies have gone through,” ARL’s Colvin adds.

This isn’t the first time there have been dead ponies on the Lemon property. Authorities charged Jim Lemon in 2016 after four equine carcasses were discovered. He pleaded guilty and paid a $100 fine.

Police continue their investigation.

Colvin states he is concerned for the 50 ponies that still remain on the property.

Police Chief Heimdal says, “Mr. Lemon is overseeing the care of those horses, and our department will follow up with that.” He tells us that a veterinarian determined that the dozens of ponies left with the owner were healthy enough to stay.

The Lemons have not returned our message seeking comment.

Iowa Animal Cruelty Laws: No Friend to Animals

Iowa animals are losing big in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s 2017 Best and Worst States for Animal Protection Laws. That’s because Iowa is ranked 49th out of 50.

The group states these are some of the ways the state is failing animals:

  • Felony provisions available only for cruelty against select animals and fighting;


  • No felony neglect or abandonment provisions;


  • Inadequate definitions/standards of basic care;


  • No increased penalties when abuse involves multiple animals;


  • No mandatory forfeiture of animals upon conviction;


  • and a lack of provisions protecting veterinarians when reporting suspected animal abuse.


Horse owners do have options when needing to rehome their equines during tough times. These include surrendering them to a reputable horse rescue or choosing humane euthanasia.

Platinum Ticket: 80K American Horses Shipped to Slaughter [VIDEO]

Platinum Ticket’s Final Ride

It’s a story about multiple people throwing away a once-successful racehorse turned hunter/jumper named Platinum Ticket after he’s no longer useful to them.

A documentary by Animals’ Angels USA exposes what it calls “the horrors of the horse slaughter pipeline”.

When the film begins, the gray Thoroughbred finds himself injured, emaciated, and at a low-end auction. Consequently, the viewer gets a peek at Platinum Ticket’s happier days. It was before he and dozens of other horses are bought by known kill buyer Tara Michelle Sanders of Louisiana, on behalf of Thompson’s Horse Lot and Co.

Then go behind the scenes and see how this kill pen that operates a “broker program” treats horses. These are the people claiming that horses are just hours from shipping to slaughter. In reality, many are not in danger of that fate, according to Animals’ Angels. The group adds the broker’s true intent is to sell the horses at high prices.



Learn more about the project at Animals’ Angels.