On a cool November day, Sergeant Roy Sutton received a call about a very thin horse in Berkshire County that was tied out to a tree by a rope around its neck. The caller emailed Sgt. Sutton a photo and he was immediately concerned about the horse’s condition. Sgt. Sutton went out to the horse owner’s farm and observed that she had several other thin horses there as well. Sgt. Sutton made recommendations to the amenable owner and she agreed to seek additional vet care and improve the horses’ diet.
Sgt. Sutton made numerous recheck visits to the horse farm and confirmed with the owner’s veterinarians that she was adhering to their recommendations. The owner also found new homes for a few of her many horses, making it easier to care for the remaining ones. Over the next several months, conditions remained stable at the farm, with all but one of the horses in good condition.
Unfortunately, the following spring many of the horses started to lose weight, and it was determined that their owner simply could not keep up with the care of so many animals. She agreed to surrender several of the horses to the MSPCA allowing her to better focus her limited resources. Horse lovers and farmers from all over the state collaborated with the MSPCA to help the farm owner improve conditions for the remaining equines. Hay, grain, and blankets were collected and delivered and Sgt. Sutton monitored the animals’ slow but steady return to health. After a few months, both the conditions and the horses had improved.
While court prosecutions usually get the most attention, they are but a small percentage of the complaints the MSPCA Law Enforcement Department handles. In situations like this, where an owner is overwhelmed but willing to cooperate, problems can often be resolved more efficiently through consistent dedication to improving the quality of life for both animals and their caretakers.
Sgt. Sutton continues to monitor the farm regularly.