OY, I’m so angry about this.
Imagine… On May 9th, Alaqua Animal Refuge has to go to court to defend their rehabilitation of this starved mini, Champ, so that his previous owner will not get him back.
Let me say that again… SO HIS PREVIOUS OWNER CANNOT GET HIM BACK!
Can you believe this?! The courts are debating whether the previous owner showed intent to harm this mini horse.
THE GOOD GUYS
So, I called Alaqua’s Director, Laurie Hood, and she was gracious enough to grant an interview. Basically, the laws in this county of Florida needed to be addressed properly by all involved. Alaqua did all the research and has rallied local officials and Animal Control to help her in this fight for Champ… After a very long time of attempting to bring justice for this little horse, the trial is Monday.
Monday, May 9th.
I am so outraged by this obvious abuse, intent or not, that I want us to help up the good work – big time. I want them to have the resources to get the word out and to garner as much media support (and pressure on the courts) as possible.
After May 9th, I want to support Alaqua in whatever the outcome since they have tirelessly worked to bring Champ back to life.
(And, to further show Alaqua’s selflessness, Alaqua is the rescue that saved the two surviving horses from that horrible trailer accident a few weeks ago linked here).
This is why I’ve chosen Alaqua to be our May ‘Drop in the Bucket Fund‘.
THE TRIAL IS IN A WEEK! HERE ARE THE DETAILS:
I have much to say on Champ. But for today, I simply want to talk about the upcoming trial.
Below is the official word about this case.
Champ, a sweet-natured miniature horse, was rescued by Alaqua Animal Refuge on Aug. 20, 2010 in Freeport, Fla. He was found by Walton County Florida Animal Control officers in a privately owned, barren pasture, laying in dirt and waste, unable to raise himself, and 170 pounds underweight. Photographic documentation shows that Champ had no access to food or water and blood tests reveal that his near-death physical state was the direct result of malnutrition.
In the months that Champ has lived at Alaqua Animal Refuge, he has gained weight and strength and is spirited and playful. In fact, on Sept. 7, 2010 he was able to run across his shady lush pasture at the animal sanctuary for the first time. He is now healthy and his personality has bloomed.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office initially sought to charge the owners with felony animal cruelty. However, Walton County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Wells rejected the warrant, which was signed by the state attorney’s office.
A second warrant was submitted by the sheriff’s office, with the offense lowered to a misdemeanor, but Walton County Judge David Green also rejected it on Sept. 8, 2010 based on a lack of sufficient evidence.
A groundswell of support grew on the Internet, when Laurie Hood, Alaqua Animal Refuge president and founder, posted the news regarding the second rejection. The post ignited responses from bloggers and attracted attention from animal-welfare activists internationally, as the horse could now legally be returned to its owners.
In the wake of the online interest, the case was reopened and a second investigation was launched.
On Sept. 30, 2010 the Office for the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit of Florida filed a felony charge and Champ’s owner was arrested. However, in February, the owner entered a plea of not guilty, and on March 1, he filed a motion to dismiss the case. The ruling on the dismissal motion was denied and the case is expected to go to trial in early May.
CONTINUE TO BRING UPDATES
Throughout the month, I will tell you all about Champ as well as bring you news on Utah and GQ, the horses saved from that horrendous trailer accident. I have much to share…
CALL TO ACTION: DONATE IF YOU CAN AND PLEASE PASS THIS AROUND!!!!!
ALAQUA must prevail. This young colt (they are not allowed to geld him as he is not the property of Alaqua – yet…) cannot go back to his neglectful previous owner. Please, please donate if possible. Any amount adds up. And, if you cannot donate, please think strong, positive thoughts and spread this around! The Facebook button is on the upper left corner of this blog (click here to go to the website of Champ’s blog) – if you get this via email, here is the permalink (http://www.horseandman.com/?p=14537) to cut and paste anywhere. The more people who know, the more people can help. Thank you in advance!