Incorrigibles beware: We Care

During 2010 and 2011, many of us worked long hours to help serve up some justice to the many animals killed and mistreated by Brett and Alexis Ingraham. Read more about the Ingrahams here.

Brett Ingraham was convicted of animal cruelty, 2011

Brett Ingraham was convicted of animal cruelty, 2011

The Ingrahams were found guilty of animal cruelty. But did they learn? Some say not.

“Incorrigible” means unable to be corrected or reformed. That’s what Dr. Janell Tirrell, of Third Coast Equine, called folks like the Ingrahams when she met with fellow advocates to help develop what would eventually be known as the Maine Equine Welfare Alliance.

Janet Tuttle, owner of Rockin’ T Equine Rescue, used her usual blue-collar bluntness to say the same thing of horse owners who fail to embrace the real meaning of ownership: Of folks like these, “you cannot learn stupid,” she told me.

Meanwhile, a group in Houlton nowadays has been trying to effect change at Jessica York’s farm. Check out this report by WGME.

Since I moved to Utah from Maine, I’ve bore sad witness to a few horse neglect incidents, big and small. The most recent concerned a neighbor who took off for four days of vacation without bothering to have anyone tend to his equines. Sure, he piled hay in their racks and filled the tub with water. But after 36 hours, they had eaten all the hay. What water they had was slimy and warm (since it sat in an uncleaned, algae-filled tub).

Maine Equine Welfare Alliance

Maine Equine Welfare Allianchours, they had eaten all the hay and the water had grown slimy (since he had not been cleaning the tub, apparently).

Did I mention temperatures were consistently in the 90s?

By Day Three, a group of concerned neighbors called animal welfare.

By Day Four, the horses finally had hay and fresh water. Did the owner learn anything when he had to chat with the animal welfare officer? I wonder.

That same week, I parked next to a big, red Cadillac with two dogs in it. The windows were rolled down about an inch and a half. The temperature was 95 degrees.

I called the sheriff. He called an animal control officer who measured the temperature in the car at 115 degrees. They broke into the car, saved the dogs, and gave a citation to the owner. Did that owner learn anything? I wonder, sometimes, if the world is not full of incorrigibles.

So, this week and every week, my hat is off to all those working to educate folks about this great privilege and responsibility we have: Ownership. My Thank You list includes vets like Tirrell, Dr. Rachel Flaherty and South Mountain Equine, groups like the MSSPA. And all those quiet workers, neighbors, friends, and family who help nurture good horsemanship and husbandry with those who might not know better.

And for all those out there fearlessly advocating for animals: keep up the good work!