About six horses with chunks of their coats missing and protruding ribs were surrendered by their Springfield owner to neighbors after repeated complaints were filed against her to Lane County Animal Services (LCAS). LCAS and the Lane County Sheriffs Office are facing county budget cuts, and local equines might be falling through the cracks.
The complaints of alleged neglect by Rose Buckholtz have been an ongoing ordeal, according to LCAS Supervisor Rick Hammel.
The neighbors who filed the complaints have been taking care of the animals ever since Buckholtz gave them up, according to Darla Clark, who runs the horse rescue organization Strawberry Mountain Mustangs and has been in contact with the group of neighbors. According to Clark, some of the horses were near death and a colt was too weak to stand and had to be carried away.
Two horses currently remain with Buckholtz, says Hammel, and she has agreed to not have anymore than the two indefinitely. “To this point she’s been cooperative,” he says. “We’ll see how she can do with these two horses.”
But according to Clark, LCAS is not being aggressive enough in taking legal action.
“LCAS is not documenting these cases, and they’re slipping through the cracks and they’re becoming bigger and bigger problems as time moves on,” she says. “It’s just never resolved.”
“We don’t do any criminal investigations,” Hammel says of LCAS.
But horse abuse and neglect is pursued and has resulted in convictions in nearby Oregon counties. Last October a woman was put in jail for six months for horse neglect in Douglas County, says Clark, and in Marion County she has worked with the sheriff, who recently had a case where the defendant received two years for neglect.
“[In areas] all around Lane County this is being taken really seriously,” she says.
Hammel points to budget issues and says the Lane County Sheriff’s office has been aware of the problems of neglect pertaining to this event. The problem is under investigation, according to Hammel, but he doubts legal action will be taken because of a lack of county resources. “I don’t think the sheriff has detectives he can spare for a horse abuse case,” he says.