12 May 2016
This article is presented as part of our Stolen Horse International Educational Outreach Program.
Here at Stolen Horse International, we have come to rely on YOU, horse owners and horse lovers, to help us in finding horses that have lost their way.
Caring for a horse that is in need comes naturally to those of us who love this amazing creature. Assisting us in helping with stolen, lost, missing and stray/found horses are the top ways horse owners can help Stolen Horse International. Not all lost or stolen horses are criminal matters, as some can be part of civil cases such as divorce or board liens. How to handle the diverse cases we are asked to assist with, is one of the most hotly discussed and opinionated subjects we encounter in our daily casework.
The circumstance surrounding a horse named Booster is just one of these hotly debated cases. This commentary is not to pick sides on any issue or to point a finger at any individual. We have seen so many sides of this issue already discussed very energetically. Instead, we would like to invite you to follow along as we manage and actively work on Booster’s case.
In the eighteen years Stolen Horse International has been operating, very few things surprise us anymore. Most, if not all, horse situations we have been presented with, have taught us about human nature and how innocent creatures like horses are often put in harm’s way. Even though we may never totally understand some situations, there is invaluable information we can learn from them that may improve the work on our next case.
Because of our 18 years of experience very few things surprise us anymore. Most—if not all—horse situations have been presented to us over and over and we have learned from each one. Even though we will never totally understand some situations, there’s got to be a way to learn from them, right? Absolutely.
Selling horses dates back to the beginning of horse and man, and horse owners greatly benefit from these sales. After watching the video shot by the sellers and reading many of the comment, the basic situation is that a “found” horse is being sold to “save” the horse from certain death because:
Now you now know as much about Booster’s history as we do. It is our goal to think past the obviously stated facts and assess the situation before taking action to put Booster into the NetPosse database and public alerts. The very first thing we must be familiar with is general livestock laws. We know the treatment of any stray animal is covered under the livestock laws of that state. Laws vary slightly from state to state, but we believe these laws were not followed in this case. You can see some of the livestock laws that are relative to this case at the end of this article.
The first question we have to ask ourselves about Booster’s case is if the assumption that the horse is stolen is correct or incorrect. In addition, there are other “red flag” questions, based on the story that has been presented to the public, that need further consideration. There are certainly many more than ten, but here are ten that we think are the most important to consider:
Now that you are thinking outside the box, let’s look at just a few excerpts from the Arkansas Code in regards to Livestock Running At Large Or Straying general provisions. Keep in mind that at the writing of this article it is unclear to us which state laws apply to Booster. We have provided a link to both Arkansas and Louisiana livestock laws at the end of this section.
Arkansas Livestock Running at Large or Straying Law
2-38-101 Taking up animals.
Every citizen, a resident householder in any county in this state, on finding any horse, mare, mule, jack, or jenny or any domesticated cattle, hogs, or sheep, of any age running at large, the owner of which is not known, may take the animal into his custody.
2-38-104 Duty and rights of taker-up or impounder.
(a)(1) Every person taking up any stray animal shall immediately, if the animal is marked or branded, proceed to the office of the clerk of the county court of the county in which the animal is taken up and shall cause the clerk to examine the State Brand Book.
(2) If it is found that the mark or brand upon the animal taken up is entered upon the book, the taker-up or impounder of the animal shall at once notify the owner of the mark or brand, of his having taken up the animal, giving an exact description thereof.
(3)(A) The taker-up or impounder of an animal shall receive a reasonable compensation for his trouble.
(B) If the animal is taken from the range where the stock of the owner is accustomed to be kept, the taker-up or impounder shall receive nothing.
(b) No person shall use, work, or exercise any acts of ownership over any animal taken up by him until he shall have given notice thereof to the county court clerk. However, he may ride the animal to the county court for the purpose of giving the notice to the clerk.
2-38-105 Certificate of examination.
Upon the taker-up of any animal causing examination of the State Brand Book to be made by the county clerk as prescribed in § 2-38-104, the county clerk shall give to the impounder a certificate of the examination having been made, setting out in the certificate the description of the animal and the marks and brands, or either thereof, and the impounder shall pay the clerk twenty-five cents (25¢ ) as a fee for the certificate.
2-38-106 Posting description of animal.
(a) Upon failure to find any record of the mark or brand of the animal taken up or when the person in whose name the mark or brand is found recorded proves not to be the owner of the animal, the taker-up or impounder of the animal shall put or cause to be put up posters in three (3) of the most public places in the township or neighborhood where the animal is taken up, giving a full detailed description of the animal, stating the marks, age, color, and value of the animal. At the same time, the taker-up or impounder shall deliver to the clerk of the county court a copy of the poster, and the clerk shall at once enter a full copy of the poster in a book to be kept by him for that purpose and shall set up the poster upon the courthouse door.
(b) If, at the expiration of ten (10) days from the date of the poster, the animal has not been proved away, it shall be the duty of the impounder to give notice to the nearest justice of the peace of the county of the taking up of the animal. The impounder shall, at the time of giving notice, file with the justice of the peace the certificate of the clerk of the county court of the examination of the record of marks and brands if the animal taken up is marked or branded.
(c) If the animal should be proved away as provided in this section, it shall be the duty of the person proving away the animal to pay a reasonable charge for feeding and advertising the animal if the animal has not been used by the person taking it up. In this case no charge shall be made for feeding and advertising.
2-38-107 Oath of taker-up.
In addition to the notice required by law to be given to a county clerk of taking up of strays, it shall be the duty of the taker-up, at the time of giving the notice, to take also an oath before the clerk that the stray was taken up on the farm of the person, or in his immediate vicinity, and that he had no agency in bringing the stray into the vicinity
You can see the full here. https://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/fence/ar_fnc.htm
See Louisiana Livestock Laws here: https://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/fence/la_fnc.htm
No matter how one feels about the means to this end, this horse has a chance to have a life. Booster was lucky enough to be purchased by one of our long time Stolen Horse International supporters. She then contacted us to try to find his owner and the facts surrounding his journey.
This is where we ask for YOUR HELP. Please send his NetPosse Alert to all of your friends, social media groups far and wide. He could be from nearby or far away. What we DO know is that he went through a horse auction in Louisiana at one time in his life. How do we know? That is a part of Booster’s story currently under development and yet to be told.
Click here to see Booster's official webapage with full details of his case. Don't forget to print his flyer and post it in your area.
What do you think?
Those of you, who have more thoughts on how to locate a former owner, please comment politely below. This is not a forum for bashing or taking a stand or creating a platform for, or against, slaughter, kill buyers, etc. It IS about this horse, Booster, and possibly other horses that are also “lost”. Do you have thoughts or ideas on how to find past owners or ways to notify a former owner who “possibly” may be searching for their missing or stolen horse?
Special thanks goes to volunteers Angela Beck and Fran Iwanicki for their contributions to this article on Stolen Horse Internatinoal, www.netpose.com.