By Libby Cluett
From Spaniards to Apache horsemen; from pioneers to the Pony Express riders, horses helped America’s inhabitants traverse its vast terrain.
To many humans, horses are seen as synonymous with America’s heritage – something to be cherished and preserved.
Others view horses as chattel – property or assets. Because of this and other problems between horses and people, Angela Sotelo founded Lonesome Dove Equine Protection.
Godley-based LDEP is one of a growing number of non-profit groups in Texas whose mission is to protect horses suffering from abuse and neglect.
On Nov. 17, LDEP celebrated its one-year anniversary at Tractor Supply in Mineral Wells Tractor. The day consisted of a series of seminars to educate the public about their cause and general care for horses.
The group’s motto is “protecting America’s heritage.” Their goal is to provide horses with a loving, caring environment and “forever home” if the owners cannot or will not.
Battling equine neglect
Sotelo, a certified animal-cruelty investigator, said that the majority of her cases are because of neglect – owners lack education in caring properly for horses – and from “people who view horses as a possession and not an animal.”
Sotelo attributes the drought, combined with fuel costs and the price of grass hay going sky high to a number of neglect cases.
The LDEP founder and vice president said that she often sees neglect occurring when horses are group fed. She said that when this happens, one horse may appear overweight and others thin because the dominant horse eats most of the feed.
“Group feeding must be monitored by a person,” warns Sotelo.
Occasionally, she said she monitors other purported horse rescue groups for scams and neglect.
Addressing equine abuse
Sotelo said that LDEP receives several cases resulting from severe abuse. One recipient of physical abuse was on hand at Tractor Supply for their educational program. The mare was handed over to a LDEP members because she was considered a problem.
By Libby Cluett
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