Ok, recently I have had issues with Animal Control being called on me. None of the officers had ANY worries. Well, we think we're found the concerned party. Now, I'm not the type to think badly of people. In fact, my first thought was that it was sweet that she worries about horses, and is willing to do something about it. I'm starting to lose that feeling.
So, Jae lets a dog out today, and sees someone messing with the horses. Naturally, he goes over to say hi. We get a LOT of people who love ponies and want to feed them over the fence. As owners of an endangered breed, we use this as a chance to educate the public. I can't tell you how many smiles we have put on kid's faces by letting them come into the barn and pet a foal or nice gelding. We also explain safety issues, and what they should and should not feed the horses (so many toxic plants out there! so grass and carrots to make it easy on them) how to properly feed a horse so they don't lose fingers, and of course, explain the dangers of being in the pasture! Nothing cuter then seeing kids bring plastic bags full of hand picked grass, and spend hours feeding horses.
So Jae's initial though was simply that it was a horse lover. He walks over, and before he's half way there, she spots him. She scurried off to her car, and sped away. He tried to get her plates, but wasn't close enough, but we DID recognize the car.
When I first moved in, we had all kind of trees and brush on the fence lines that made a natural barrier. Some dingbat would drive up, dump her organic refuse on the side of the road in this brush, and then drive off. I'm sure she THOUGHT she was feeding the wild life. *head desk* What she was doing, was bringing coyotes to my pastures! She did this every week. Many times I saw her from the barn, or while riding, and other times I just found the new pile of "coyote bait".
The rubbish pile lead to coyotes and wild dogs chasing my horses, especially my young foals. I would wake up at night hearing coyotes CLOSE, and thundering hooves. This is why I keep big dogs! A quick scurry out the back with the big dogs barking, and the coyotes ran off. Not always before an injury. A couple of minor lacerations, a foal run so hard she was panting, mares with hair pulled out of their tails... I never SAW the coyotes at the horses, but I saw the evidence.
I want to mention here that my dogs are mostly well trained to work with horses. Suzie is herding trained and works "full time" with me, Anvil wishes he was a herding dog, but while he has the basics, hip dysplasia prevents him from doing much. Hobbes is too old (17!) Hobo is too forgetful (fox hound, he just runs off following a scent), Sharra is NOT allowed to roam free, and Rowdy... epileptic Rowdy is great with animals, but a medical nightmare.
I also saw stray dogs. At one point, I look up from my work, and see a red beast JUMPING at my gelding Boo. Now, many of my horses are dog safe... I mean I have my own pack! Boo is one of the best. This mutt (chow mix? About 30 pounds, looked like a muppet) was jumping at Boo's rump, and at one point grabbed his tail and was literally hanging there. Boo had enough and kicked the dog, just hard enough to make it let go, and not hard enough to hurt it. Of course, while watching, Jae and I were running across a few acres to help.
The brood mares were NOT happy about the dog, and formed up. If you've never seen a herd of horses in defense mode, you really don't want to. Ears pinned, snorting and charging, foals and weak horses in the center. I have to say, I was so proud of my horses that they banded together to protect each other, even horses that usually won't occupy the same side of the pasture.
So, my concerned party is an animal lover, who is not well educated on the realities of wild life and livestock. I did make a complaint to the police about the rubbish dumping, so it's on record. There's a description of the person and the car there. Maybe that's why she's anonymous? I mean, we live in a SMALL town, and it wouldn't shock me if one of the officers mentioned that she was causing problems. It stopped shortly after my call after all.
I don't think she's malicious. I think she really dose want to help, and she really does think that there's a problem. I also think I know where she lives.
So here's my debate... do I stop by and talk to her? In a non threatening manner of course? Something like "I think you had some concerns about my horses, would you share them with me, and see if I can either improve, or you're misinterpreting something?" I don't know how she'd take that, or if she'd feel threatened. She's obviously worried, since she ran from Jae today. I really think her heart is in the right place, but she's a bit short on real world facts. I mean, I'm a sucker for animals too!
So, option #1 - stop and talk to the person I think it is.
Option #2 - I know when she's coming by, and what her work schedule is, should i just get pictures of her, and her license plate, and let the police sort it out? The reality of this is, such calls are public record, and I AM running a business. It could end up damaging to my lively hood. I really don't like this option though, it seems so.... sinister.
What do you think? Any other ideas?
A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.