I was dismayed to read July 29 (“After seizures at farm, woman is banned from having animals,” Page B1) about the seizure of 20 horses and many other animals from a Springvale property.
Jim Britt, Animal Welfare Program spokesman, is paraphrased as saying that the state “is pleased with the outcome” that a court ordered the neglectful owner not to own animals, except for a few cats and dogs. I find this outrageous.
What good does it do for Maine to have animal welfare laws if they are not enforced? Maine shelters, including the Society for the Protection of Animals horse rescue in Windham, which took 20 horses in terrible condition, will be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to rehabilitate and help these animals. Many are severely underweight and suffering from various unaddressed medical issues.
Supporters, like me, of these shelters will be asked to donate to help. At the very least, a criminal prosecution should have moved forward, and fines should be imposed. When people hoard animals, neglect them and keep them in inhumane conditions, there should be legal and financial consequences. Otherwise, the message is that anyone can get away with this level of neglect.
Enforcing such a so-called lifetime ownership ban is problematic, too. What is to prevent a hoarder from moving elsewhere in Maine, to New Hampshire or anywhere else, and doing the same thing?
I am disappointed in another egregious failure of the system in Maine. Maine taxpayers, and supporters of animal rescue organizations everywhere, should be anything but pleased with this outcome.