40 horses in the pen area. One pen held a severely emaciated red roan Appaloosa, which was probably less than 3 years old. The horse, which was a BCS 1.5 on the Henneke chart, was obviously sick, since thick, purulent discharge was dripping from his mouth and nostrils. There also was discharge from the eyes and he had a dry cough, all symptoms of a severe strangles infection. The horse shared the same pen with numerous other horses, a few minis and an approx. 8 month old foal. Investigators never saw the horse move, he was standing very still with his head low.
After documenting his condition, investigators called local law enforcement, since it is a violation of Texas law to keep a horse in this condition without providing veterinary care. The first officer who arrived at the scene appeared cooperative, took pictures of the horse and called Morris. A woman answered and informed him that the horse was going to slaughter. The officer then left to present the information to his supervisor, Bailey County Sheriff Richard Wills. When AA talked to the Sheriff shortly thereafter, he stated that he saw the horse and that it had food and water and that was all that was needed.
Mr. Morris had moved the horse away from the road to a pen that was less visible. The horse was laying down now and coughing. Next to the pen area, investigators noticed piles of manure with partially decayed horse parts and bleached bones exposed. Investigators then left and returned to the Sheriff’s office to try
to convince the Sheriff to enforce the law and to obtain a copy of the police report. The Sheriff was extremely unfriendly and still refused to do anything. The police report said nothing about the condition of the horse and none of the pictures the deputy took were included.
Investigators then contacted the County Judge, the local USDA office, animal control, and the Humane Society of West Texas and the Texas State Police. Nobody was willing to help the horse. At the end of
the day, investigators had to leave to catch the plane back home. When AA called the County Judge again, she informed them that she went to the Morris premises the same day the AA investigators had left and did not see the horse. She stated that the Sheriff assured her the situation “had been taken care off”. The investigation proved again that there is a direct connection between horse slaughter and animal cruelty. It was also another sad example of law enforcement unwilling to do their job. Complaints about local officials, insufficient composting and DOT violations have been filed.