The staff and experienced volunteers of an equine rescue may assist law enforcement agencies with cases of abused or neglected horses at several stages of the process.
• Investigations: The rescue may prescreen neglect complaints by driving by the property to make sure the horses are present and appear neglected. They may also accompany law enforcement officers as they visit the property and may assist in educating owners about proper care and handling of their horses.
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• Seizures: Rescues are usually not authorized to remove horses from a property without the presence of law enforcement, but volunteers may assist an officer during a seizure. The rescue may also provide advice as well as trailers, halters and other necessary equipment.
• Housing: Equine rescues may take in horses and provide all necessary shelter and care while any legal proceedings play out.
• Documentation: Rescue personnel may accompany an officer on an investigation or seizure to photograph the horses, assign a body condition score, and document any other notable issues such as untreated injuries or poor living conditions. They may also take additional photos and keep records of changes in the horses’ condition during rehabilitation to document how they recovered with proper care.
• Trials and hearings: Experienced and trained rescue personnel may go to court to provide expert testimony about the horses’ condition during the investigation and seizure and their subsequent recovery and rehabilitation.
• Rehabilitation and rehoming: If the owner surrenders the horses or the courts award them to the rescue, the rescue then completes the horses’ rehabilitation and finds them new homes.