Letter to the Editor: Commentary on ‘Elsa the frozen pony’

OPINION LETTER TO THE EDITOR – The following letter was submitted in response to St. George News report, Owner of neglected horse ‘Elsa’ appears in court for animal cruelty.

Elsa, a yearling who was found frozen to the ground and malnourished was removed from the custody of an Enoch resident on Jan. 2. Enoch, Utah, Jan. 2, 2014| Photo courtesy of Dust Devil Ranch Sanctuary for Horses, St. George News
Elsa, a yearling who was found frozen to the ground and malnourished was removed from the custody of an Enoch resident on Jan. 2. Enoch, Utah, Jan. 2, 2014| Photo courtesy of Dust Devil Ranch Sanctuary for Horses, St. George News

This picture of Elsa says a thousand words. One in particular stands out: why?

This young filly died an agonizing death. Her suffering stands symbolic with many others who are neglected, forgotten or deliberately overlooked and did not get help in time.

As neglect cases are on the rise, so is ignorance and “looking the other way,” a convenient yet unacceptable trademark that affects too many animals of all kinds lately. We may never know the reason that led to these horses’ advanced debilitated state – yet we know one thing: Abuse and neglect of this magnitude is not acceptable.

We as a society have a responsibility to those we put into our lives. Whether it is a dog, cat, horse or another animal – we owe them our involvement, participation and respect 

It is a repeat travesty occurring in this country on a regular basis, not just in Utah. America is in the stone age when it comes to animal protection laws. The dismissal of taking the suffering of animals into serious consideration with serious consequences for those who cause it, is disgusting.

The laws suck and need amending everywhere, especially for horses/livestock. No one ought to get away with this. This guardian should be sent to Siberia for a couple of months. He also ought to never be able to have horses/animals again.

It is ironic when the system’s hands are tied … because of ineffective laws … and “monitoring” and “keeping an eye” on suffering animals are the only measures of “protection” animals in question get … until often, it’s too late.

Regardless of whatever crisis led to the misery and suffering of those horses, it is the district attorney’s job to prioritize and ensure their protection.

Often decisions may be made outside the courtroom doors because city officials, judges and lawyers maintain social relationships outside the environment of the court…thus deals are cut and justice is aborted because of the preferences of peers and colleagues valuing friendships over truth and justice.

The legal community must do the law according to the law’s standards and not from the perspective of friendships and ambitions to please others. Bureaucratic stonewalling and corruptive dismissals are to be exposed.

We, the public, depend on the system to carry out its moral and professional obligations as to protect and fulfill justice in the standards of compassion.

Voiceless animals that were irrefutably exposed to harm or horrific neglect also depend on it – with a rigorous tougher law in place; it will not only set a high standard but protect those who cannot help themselves and thus, the tax payer in the end.

As we look at horses such as Elsa, we recognize this is not progress of a civilized society, nor does it reflect decent humane animal welfare standards. It reminds us of the dark ages. We must create awareness of the plight of horses, as many suffer due to economic hardships or high hay prices. We must stop breeding animals that we cannot care for or are unwilling to call for help.

During these difficult times, there are many options and services available to help. To starve horses or dump them at killer auction as an easy way out is not an option. Skinny, neglected or old horses are never candidates for this most predatory industry.

Let’s remember that slaughter is for food production and not the place to send “unwanted” animals of any species, as only animals strictly raised/regulated under food safety laws should enter the food chain. US horses are raised for purposes other than food (racing, sport, service, work, etc.) and should never enter the food chain.

Contact your local animal shelter for help. I am an animal rescue networker, and there are many in your local communities. The message of help will be received.

America must get a clue and prosecute in a harsher way – set an example – as for all else people get in trouble, yet these very incidents are overlooked.

Help is available. Those who have animals, either responsibly care for them or get over their pride by asking for help with the local rescue, animal shelters or authorities who can guide them and assist. To condemn the animals in question to suffering is not an option. Period.

America must get a clue and prosecute in a harsher way – set an example – as for all else people get in trouble, yet these incidents are overlooked.

Shame on America.

Submitted by Monika Courtney, Evergreen, Colorado

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11 Comments

  • Ann Marini January 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    It is with disgust that I write this comment about that poor foal who died a harsh and agonizing death. And, the owner??? He sits somewhere in comfort with three square meals a day awaiting some action from the legal profession.

  • Linda Chin January 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I so agree with Monika…the way a nation threats its animals says a lot about a nation. There is in my opinion, no excuse for something like this to happen. Starving an animal is senseless…not to mention letting it freeze to death. Charges need to be more severe in cases like this so that people will know the severity of this kind of crime. This is absoultely sickening to look at this picture and to think what this animal went through while the owner feed their face and lived in a warm house! DO SOMETHING NOW!

  • Maggie January 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    We are a society that cares little about life anymore. My heart aches for all of the abused babies,children and animals. We fret about being politically correct more than we care about the pain and death of life that cannot care for itself. Some days it actually makes me sick when I read the paper or listen to the news and see the things we care about as compared to the things we should care about.

  • Bobber January 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    if it would have been a cow no one would have cared…

    • peg4x4 January 17, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Actually BOBBER,I do care about how cattle ,hogs and chickens are kept. Yes,I am a carnivore. That being said,there is no reason to neglect any animal. Stress harms the end product,so is uneconomical,which would make any reasonable person care for how their animals are kept. THESE people get a little thrill thinking about how hungry/hurting the animals are. They must be stopped. If for no other reason than This “little thrill”transfers to any child or elderly person in their “care”.

      • ladybugavenger January 17, 2015 at 10:59 pm

        I want my cow and pig to be treated with care, fed properly and not abused before it gets slaughtered and I eat it. I really don’t want to eat steroids. And I want my piece of steak and my bacon to be healthy and prepared with care. Stop animal abuse! Now back to the story, poor Elsa. This brings me back to mom leaves baby in hot car, so much support in that case, are there any supporters for Elsa’s owner?

    • Monika Courtney January 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Actually cows suffer much too on a constant bases, I have worked many cases to expose the complacency that rules here in CO in regards to livestock animals, cows included. The problem is the system is stuck in archaic laws that demand little to no protection. And if problems of neglect arise… the system stonewalls with bureaucratic excuses rather than action such as is implemented when one would publicly kick a dog for example. Then… they come and do… yet when cows or horses or sheep or livestock in general suffers and starves.. . little to nothing is done.

  • Bobber January 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    poor dumb cows

    • Koolaid January 18, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Let’s have a BBQ fundraiser for those cows.

  • Monika Courtney January 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Difficult to believe this happens in a civilized society. So they claim – the biggest, best and only… yet how some treat animals here is beyond shocking and shameful. Please sign this petition. FORCE change. So those complacent, ignorant or just plain stupid will not get away with this. Do it for Elsa, so she did not suffer in vain. https://www.change.org/p/state-sen-gene-davis-please-create-and-pass-elsa-s-law-for-non-utah-signers-only

  • Nancy Watson January 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Society has made a clear distinction between violent and non-violent crimes. And even though it has been proven that those who abuse and neglect animals are likely to graduate to violent crimes against humans, the laws for animal abuse and neglect have been untouched for decades. If we know that animal abuse is violent, and that criminals who inflict violence upon animals will likely become more violent, how is it that our current laws allow this kind of criminal act without severe consequences? Any violence, whether directed to human or non human, must result with severe consequences in order to remain a civilized society. This particular atrocity must become an example for others who treat animals in this manner. The suffering in this world must stop. It is our responsibility to enure that it does, and that Elsa didnt die die in vain but rather became the ambassador for suffering and abused animals everywhere.

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