Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Speak up for Tessa the mule

Yesterday in the comments on Fugly Horse of the Day, I ran across a link to a website about a mule named Tessa who died after being abused by her trainers.

If you don't do well with pictures of animal abuse, avoid the link on the site that says "Warning - Graphic Photos." The rest of the pages are G-rated, and the story is worth reading. It's a good reminder of how careful you have to be when hiring people to work with your horse. I personally would never send my horse away to be trained, but it's a pretty common practice, so if you do just be careful!

Unfortunately, Tessa's abusers have not been brought to justice, so her owner is asking that people write letters asking the Humane Society and the sheriff's office to take action on the case. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to write a quick note telling them how horrified you were, and asking them to do what needs to be done. Please help make sure these horrible people will never be able to do this to another horse!



At April 28, 2009 at 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I contacted the Prosecuting Attorney for Texas County and was told that no charges are to be filed. The reason being.... Tessa suffered from severe chronic laminitus and osteomyellitis. The skin lesions were the result of the animal being recumbent. This is from the University Vet. Also it is my understanding the the trainer contacted the owner to come get the mule when it began showing signs. The owner did not show up for several days. While the trainer was waiting he had the locat vet try to treat the animal. Please people verify information before you use harsh words. The suffering of a Mule pulled on a lot of heart strings and it made people say harsh words against the investigators and the trainers. Will these people go back and apologize..... I doubt it, they never do.

At April 29, 2009 at 9:37 PM, Blogger Cat Hill said...

Thank you for the email, I am supposed to be calling the prosecutor this Friday so I'll know
more then. Regardless of who posted on your blog or why, it is a lie. The only small truth to that was
that her tests showed she had a chronic laminitis, I have the tests in
my hand. I have not been told there are no charges being filed but
because the prosecutor has never returned any of my calls, so I cannot
respond to the statement that "no charges will" be filed but I can
guarantee that there will be some filed before I'm done.

I have recorded messages (and so does the prosecutor) from that
trainer that make the statement that he called me to have me come get
my mule a total lie. In fact, the day before we picked her up he had
left a message on my answering machine that my mule was fine and she
would ride good for me when I got her home. The vets report from the
University is the best they could do considering they did not see her
for over 3 weeks after I got her home. I was calling my vet (and
trying every other vet I knew to find someone who could see her) on
the way home from the so-called trainers but my vet could not be reached until
that night and I went to the clinic to pick up antibiotics, vit B
injection, etc, etc until she could come out the next morning. I also
called 911 and the deputy who came out and did the report took loads
of pictures and reported her case to the Humane Society of Missouri
state investigators as well as faxing his report and sending photo's
to the Sheriffs Dept in Texas county where the abuse took place. I
called and called the Humane Society myself as well and it was still 3
weeks before they finally showed up at my property and was on my
property looking at Tessa without my permission or knowledge which is
not legal in the first place and then they obviously went ballistic
like "now" it's an emergency. They visited with my vet and insisted
they needed her at the University Hospital for a "proper" exam and
told me they would be responsible for her bills there and it would be
needed to prosecute the trainer. Bottom line was that they refused to
pay and it was hundreds of dollars for over night with an exam and
tests that I paid myself. After Tessa had to be euthanized, the
Humane Society just dropped us. I called and called and left messages
everywhere until I'd had enough and started getting rude. It was only
"after" thousands of emails, etc that they finally called me and
aplogized, sort of, for dropping her case. An oversight they

I am a RN and have many years of wound care experience and I had most
of those wounds, healing so well that it's ridiculous to think that
anyone could make a statement about what her wounds were like before.
They were from dragging, obvious and clear even in the photo's.
Recumbent? Yes, she was so badly beaten and starved that she could
not stand for long and the only pressure wounds were on her elbows,
the rest were gouge and dragging wounds. Are they stupid enough to
think my fat healthy mule just laid down until her skin began breaking
down? The trainer claimed that their vet didn't need to come out as Tessa
was so much better and yet when they were investigated, the vet stated he
had never even been called about Tessa and did not have any knowledge
of her so it seems everything from that man's mouth was a lie.

I have proof through all of the emails I had written to my mule
friends on our Yahoo group, MulesOnly, of the reports I was getting
from the trainer and he never once told me to come get my mule. In
fact, when I called them for an update after a week, he had stated he
was having some trouble with her on the trails but he was taking her
back through some ground work and would have his uncle help him work
through it at the barn. I had already told this trainer when I left
my mules that if he found he could not work with either of them to let
me know and I'd come get them. When I called for that first report
and he was having some trouble on the trail, I asked if he wanted me
to come get Tessa and he stated "No Mam, we'll get your little mule
trained no problem" . I have emails with dates and times that show my
updates to the group which will back up my statements.

Thank you for informing
me so I can post a rebuttle but mostly, thank you so much for caring.

At April 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...


Thanks for your email and your comment. I agree with you, the pictures CLEARLY show that the wounds are not from being recumbent, but from being dragged. Some are all the way to the bone, for heaven's sake. Only a moron -- or someone determined not to see the truth -- could misinterpret that.

I hope you'll get some good news from the prosecutor on Friday!

At May 13, 2009 at 7:50 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't heard from you, Cathy, so I checked your site and found that you posted an update just yesterday!

If anyone is reading this post and wants to find out the latest, visit this page for updates on Tessa.

At May 13, 2009 at 8:03 PM, Blogger Cat Hill said...

I just want to add that the prosecutor had been working with very little information. The vet from the University had only seen her one time and it was 3 weeks after she was home and was healing. With all of the wounds healing, there was no way for this vet to have witnessed the extent and character of her wounds. Certainly not to be able to determine whether there was abuse or not. My vet will testify to the fact that her wounds were consistent with dragging, including the rope burns on every ankle to the bone and rope burns around her groin and behind her front legs. She was dragged on her belly and both elbowd were turned to ground meat.
I am confident that the evidence I can provide will turn this around in a hurry. I have thousands of people wanting to write letters again too. I was notified by NASMA (North American Saddle Mule ASsociation) that they wanted to provide expert witnesses that can identify causes of this type of abuse.

At May 13, 2009 at 8:07 PM, Blogger Cat Hill said...

To address the laminitis, this could have easily been brought on by stress, by an infection that she got as a direct result of the open wounds to her heels from dragging etc. Tessa had all of these things. This abuser did not even have a vet to see to Tessa and admitted to me that was a mistake.
This will be an easy case once the truth is all out.


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