Justice for Jaxon and Josie

Justice for Jaxon and Josie

One decaying horse carcass. One horse skeleton. Two additional horses in desperate need of nourishment and humane care. That is what our investigator found when sent to check on horses running at large in Galesburg, Illinois, in March 2012. You never quite know what to expect when arriving at the scene for the first time. 

As our investigator explored the location, she found the deceased horses inside a barn on the owner's property. The owner's house was just a few hundred feet away from where the horses' bodies lay. The skeletal horse was completely picked clean. We estimate that it had been dead for at least two months, if not longer. The other horse carcass was in advanced decay. The halter was still on the horse's head. Maggots covered the entire body and obscured any evidence of color or gender.

Outside of the barn, in a dirt paddock, our investigator found the two other sickly looking horses. One was a young, thin stallion with a patchy, dull, burr covered coat. He was very weak and unable to jump the broken fencing to get to the green grass on the other side. The other was an anemic mare. She still had enough energy to go through the broken fence to gain nourishment from the grass on the other side, so she had slightly more weight to her than the stallion.

 Jaxon Before

When questioned by our investigator, the horse's owner told us that she had not been able to purchase any type of food for the horses since November of last year (that was 4 months prior to the time of the investigation). She claimed that she was currently trying to breed the mare to the stallion, and planned to sell the foal to pay for hay to feed the horses. That means the horses would have had to survive without food for at least several more months before a foal could even be born.
Without HAHS' intervention, we believe that these two horses would not have survived much longer, definitely not until a foal could have been born. We fear that they would have suffered the same fate as their decomposing stable mates.

 Josie Before

With help from the Knox County States Attorney's office, both surviving horses were seized and taken to HAHS to begin rehabilitation. Renamed Jaxon and Josie, the horses quickly began to blossom while here. Those involved with the case were hopeful that the owner would be forced to give up ownership of the horses to HAHS. Sometimes, after rehabilitation, the courts will return the animals to an owner if that owner can prove that he will be able to care for the animals going forward. Results of such returns are varied, as you can imagine.

Victory and relief came when the court hearing was held in early May 2012 and the owner was charged with several counts of aggravated cruelty and animal cruelty. The owner pled guilty to several charges and agreed to relinquish the horses to HAHS permanently. The court order further provides that she is not to own any animals for at least a year. Now, both horses wait with confidence for their scheduled feeding times, that they know will surely come. They love their salt blocks. They enjoy being turned out on large fields where they can have a nibble of grass here and there and stretch their legs at will. Both of them have sweet personalities, love attention, and are waiting patiently to be adopted by their new families. Jaxon has been adopted into a loving forever home! Josie has arthritis and is still very nervous around people, but she enjoys spending her time out in the field!

                                               Jaxon and Josie After