Good News for Dual Peppy in Colorado. Because of the public outcry, due to KRDO News coverage, authorities did something. Hundreds of horses each year suffer because no one cries out for them. This is why horse rescues are so important. With proper funding and education, horse rescues within a state can work with local law enforcement to bring justice for those without a voice. That is what we, Habitat for Horses, do here in Texas. 

Black Forest, Colorado – It took three days to accomplish what Diana Ragula thought would have happened immediately.

“I thought we had it on Friday night, I thought we had her. I thought she was going to be arrested that night,” Ragula said.

Ragula uncovered the carcasses of a dozen or more horses inside of a barn on a property she rents. The condition of 10 horses and four llamas didn’t appear much better with the hooves cracked and overgrown, and ribs and hip bones showing on several horses.

None of the animals had food accessible and the limited water was old and stale.

But soon her feeling of triumph turned to hopelessness.

“Saturday came; no authority figures showed, Sunday came, no authority figures,” Ragula said, “The feeling of being helpless was hard to deal with. The constant waiting for someone to show up.”

On Saturday the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released this statement explaining what was going on.

There has been a great deal of outcry about the situation involving the horses in the Black Forest area. We recognize this to be an emotional issue for many citizens, and in light of that, the Sheriff’s Office would like to provide some additional facts about the case.

Friday, September 19, 2014, members of our Investigations Division and our Mounted Unit, skilled in the investigation of animal cruelty and neglect cases involving horses, responded to the property off of Burgess Road to conduct the initial investigation.

After our investigators arrived on scene, they determined that while the appearance of the animals was visually disturbing, none of the horses were in immediate danger and none of them had to be euthanized. As such, investigators had no legal right to seize the horses at that time. We are looking into the cause of death of the deceased animals.

Members of our Mounted Unit are in contact with the horse owner, who is cooperating and receptive to working on a plan of action for continuing care of the animals and improving their living conditions. They have been provided with fresh food and water, (which they had along along) and the owner is making arrangements to further clean up the property.

Rest assured, had any of the animals been in imminent jeopardy, they would have been removed from the location. The Sheriff’s Office has had to do that in previous instances and would not have hesitated in this case should it have been necessary. We have a number of large animal rescue groups we work with in those cases.

The Sheriff’s Office truly appreciates the outpouring of concern the citizens have shown in this case and will make use of the generous offers should they become necessary. –EPCSO

Sunday, KRDO Newschannel 13 asked more questions, like why a veterinarian hadn’t been brought in to examine the horses.

“At this point we have not called in a vet because again our guys went out there looked at them and said we don’t need a vet at this time,” Sgt. Greg White said on Sunday.

All weekend, outrage grew from animal lovers and horse owners, who flooded phone lines, started Facebook pages and even online petitions.

Monday morning, things suddenly changed…a veterinarian was brought in to examine the horses. Soon after, the Sheriff’s Office decided to remove the animals and serve the owner, Sherri Brunzell, a citation for Cruelty to Animals, a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

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