At AERO we are committed to helping horses that are abused or neglected for the long-term. The following information is provided to those that have seen or suspect abuse or neglect. Please read all of the following before taking action. There are many scenarios and taking the proper steps can mean the difference between helping an animal long term and putting it in jeopardy again. Remember that the animal welfare investigators are EXTREMELY overloaded so only call on an animal after carefully considering if it is truly a neglect situation.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that animals can appear to be in poor condition but are being properly cared for with a medical condition that makes them look poor. Take in the whole picture when determining if it is a situation of concern and talk to the owner if possible before calling the authorities. If you see indicators that all the other animals are being cared for on the property and there is only one that looks poorly it is likely an aging or sick animal and not necessarily neglect. If an animal is seized by the authorities and the state is awarded custody then the animal is sent to the next public auction where it can be bought by a killer buyer - carefully consider and investigate before creating this potential. The first and best option where possible is owner education or a cooperative owner that allows removal voluntarily. If an owner cares but is short on money the best option is to try to assist the owner and call AERO so we can find it another home.
If you see a horse (or horses) that is abused or neglected and the owner does not seem co-operative....please be aware that the ONLY officials that are authorized to remove an animal without the owner's permission are:
Arizona Department of Agriculture - 602.542.0872, option 3
Maricopa County Sheriff (Animal Abuse Hotline) - 602.876.1681
Your local police department working with a rescue.
Rescue groups or individuals that remove an animal without owner consent are trespassing and stealing unless they go thru the legal process to seize a horse. Please involve proper authorities in order to protect the animal from being returned to that situation. The call volumes for the authorities are extremely high so if please call the rescue first to determine if it is appropriate to refer to authorities.
Animal abuse or neglect can be a felony charge. Be sure to look at the Arizona Statutes to fully understand the state definition of what constitutes abuse or neglect. Remember that your ultimate goal is the well-being of the animal and the best way to achieve that is to either gain co-operation of the owner to remove the animal, help the owner get resources for the animal or involve the authorities if you feel it is a dangerous situation. There is a known pattern of animal abuse with other forms of violence against people so be cautious when getting involved and defer to authorities who are experts if you feel there is any danger to yourself or an animal.