Today there was a trial regarding the herd of Apache, Shadow, Bella, those horses.
It was not a criminal trial (even though several horses died); it was a civil trial.
The judge ruled that the guy who leased the land and gave permission for others to bring their horses there, Bert Reif, needs to pay the bill that Jeremy McGregor submitted for the time the horses were kept in his feedlot near Montrose. The County does not have to pay the bill, Bert Reif does.
And that was the purpose of the trial: Money. The Judge suggested to Bert that he try to get some money back from the other horse owners involved.
Rosey Quinn, who was recently fired from Second Chance Rescue Center, was there in support of her friend Bert. They gathered together with Bert's attorney and some of the other horse owners involved, in what sounded like a strategy discussion with topics of court orders and whether someone's credibility might be questioned if that person testified.
Bert participated in (actually we were told he helped Rosey organize, but we don't know that for sure so we'll just say he participated in) one of Second Chance's final fundraisers: a ranch rodeo at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.
Some of the horses in this case, actually many of them, went back to the owners again. 7 of them were run through the loose horse sale at Mitchell in March. We know at least 2 of those and probably more went to slaughter buyers, including Apache.
Related to Apache, we found who raised Apache! We weren't even looking, it just kind of fell in our lap. He was very well cared for as a baby and was a valuable registered Paint. Bert bought him when Apache was a weanling or yearling, not sure on that age. Funny (not really) a lot of the trial time was taken up by whether Bert owned Apache or not. Why couldn't he just show the registration papers with his name on it? or proof of purchase?
People like Jeremy McGregor and Rhonda Loges who was a partner with Jeremy McGregor's dad Jim (according to Jeremy) in this horse herd, testified that the 3 Paints Diamond, Apache and Tory were not owned by Bert and so they would not let Bert take them when he came with the trailers. Those 3 Paints went to the MItchell loose horse sale (Rhonda manages that sale) under the ownership of McGregor. We are quite positive that Apache and Tory were both bought by kill buyers. Bert bought Diamond back for $500. Or someone bought him for Bert, as Bert was not allowed to bid at the auction. Anyway, the reason we did not end up with Apache along with Shadow and Bella is because Rhonda told us that Bert owned Apache and Bert wanted all of his horses back. And she was to let us know if for some reason Apache became available.
So which is it Rhonda, did Bert own Apache or not? You told us he did, and that's why we couldn't buy him. You told the Judge Bert did not own Apache, so you could justify why you and Jeremy didn't put him on Bert's trailer when Bert came to get him.
So Apache, a beautiful nice registered Paint went to slaughter instead of coming to DoubleHP.
There is no need for things like this to happen.
People who mistreat the horses in the first place are of course the ones who start the horses on the death road. But when other people are given control of the horses, people with no experience or interest in horse rescue whatsoever, and send them to slaughter instead of to a legitimate horse rescue/adoption program, well, that's just mean.
Wouldn't it be nice if Jeremy McGregor would give us our $800 and some dollars back?
Perhaps as a memorial to Apache and the other horses that he sold to kill buyers. And he says he rescued them. Any way you spin that one I don't think you can get rescue out of it.
the bill he submitted includes rescue costs. He said he had to pay other people out of pocket to haul the horses. But we learned later in the trial that it was acutally Jeremy and his dad that hauled them. anyway, this was no rescue. let us all be clear on that. and for a guy like McGregor to think he has the right to use that word associated with his actions, well, ... this was no rescue. that's the best way to say it.
We do have a Sioux Falls area horse welfare group started, and one of the things we are going to try to do is to not dwell on these cases in the past. But to work together to find a better way to deal with these cases in the future.
but yesterday was very disturbing, some of the new information that we learned about how these horses were treated, what the initial plan for them was. (initially, according to Rhonda, she was to go pick them up and take them directly to Musicks in Mitchell, which is a slaughter holding facility that ships the horses directly to Mexico for slaughter). But, she said, they were too light. (meaning Musicks wouldn't have paid her much for them). So they held on to them for approx. 40 days, just in time for Rhondas next sale! What a coincidence! And never ever in those 40 days did anyone ever think to ask us, DoubleHP, who had already nursed some of these horses back to health once, no one ever called us to ask if we wanted any of them or if we wanted to help with them.
Well, okay. I'm not going to dwell on the past. just a few minutes there. that's not dwelling, is it? Let us hope that we do indeed find a better way to help these horses, these victims. Slaughter should never be an option for rescued horses. Not a true rescue anyway. And to think that was the initial plan, the preferred option, well, ok, no more dwelling.
On a bright note, it is always a good feeling to be the good guy. The guy who is there for the true welfare of the horses.