-- My View -- Last plea for Cowboy
Dr. Samantha Mixon
Property rights vs. Animal rights - is there an easy answer?
No, but there never is in the most difficult of circumstances. Does a parent have the right to raise a child anyway they see fit?
Absolutely, yes! But do they have the right to physically abuse that child in the process? Absolutely, no!
Does a pet or animal owner have the right to care for that animal as they see fit? Absolutely, yes! But do they have the right to abuse that animal or deprive it of food? I say, "Absolutely, no!"
What do animals and children have in common? They feel pain; they suffer; they have little or no voice; and their survival is 100 percent dependent on the people who care for them.
So where does Cowboy fit into that scenario?
More than one person responsible for him in Bandera - as well as the authorities - have told me that he is "property" and so nothing can be done to help him at this point.
Normally I would agree - if this were
a normal rescue horse, in a normal sale. But Cowboy is anything but a normal abuse case.
A normal abuse case in United States involves the starvation of horses due to a lack of finances on the part of the owners or abuse through a lack of knowledge about how to care for a horse. This case goes far beyond either of those two circumstances.
The engraving of Cowboy's teeth with "Suck it" was the intentional, cruel, mutilation of a horse using veterinary anesthetic drugs illegally to sedate him so he could not fight the person who was carving into the sensitive structures of the teeth.
Photographic evidence of the carving into the sensitive dentin of the tooth has been examined not only by myself, but by Dr. Cleet Griffin, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Stephen Galloway, a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. They verified that the black staining appears to indicate previous exposure of the sensitive tooth dentin, which absorbs stain that enamel does not.
This case of dental abuse shocked and horrified most veterinarians who saw the photos. I had never seen anything like it before and neither had my colleagues. Horse vets now know to advise their clients against sending horses to the Bandera County "horse community" that will overlook cruelty to protect "entitled citizens."
Anyone who has had a cavity or sensitive teeth can understand dental pain, especially a low throbbing ache or shooting pain that comes suddenly and then goes away.
Since early July when Lisa Sorrell told me and Channel 4 WOAI, that the horse was for sale for $1,500.00, at least four people - some from different states - have tried to purchase him at that price. She told everyone "No," including myself, and he was off the market.
Then suddenly Cowboy was for sale again - with the Bandera Bulletin apparently acting as the middleman.
Within a week of the Bulletin article being published, apparently Cowboy was sold to a "good home." However, claiming privacy rights, Ms. Sorrell will not reveal the horse's new home.
The Bulletin editor told me her newspaper does not plan to pursue this story to ensure that Cowboy indeed went to a good home. Given the profoundly cruel nature of this abuse, I would have hoped that someone would have had the integrity to make sure this horse did indeed go to a great home and compassionate owners with the time and money to get him the veterinary help he may need now or in the future. I have my doubts.
This next plea goes out to Cowboy's "good home."
I want you to know that there are equine veterinary dental experts available to evaluate the horse. As with any valid client-patient-veterinarian relationship, your identity will remain confidential. I assure you that my overriding desire remains the same as in late April - to get Cowboy medically evaluated to determine the level of tooth damage and repair what can be treated so that he can live comfortably for the rest of his life.
Thank you, Judith Pannebaker and the Bandera County Courier for your assistance in trying to help this horse.
Dr. Samantha Mixon, 210-288-9751 Texas A&M Large Animal Hospital, 979-845-3541.