Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Officers were dispatched to a citizen complaint of three horses in front of 7 W Main not looking well. Upon arrival officers found that the three horses appeared dehydrated, and underweight. They also appeared to have many sores from the sadles and on their legs that were open sores. The horses seemed to be suffering in the heat as well. Mr. Mischler claims to have riden the horses from Florida to Madison to raise awareness for hunger. The horses were confiscated at the time by Animal Control Officers for further investigation.
And here's how it looks after former WISC-TV3 reporter Joel DeSpain, now a spokesman for the Madison PD, re-wrote it:
The silver haired stranger had pulled up a chair outside of a downtown saloon. He was enjoying a drink, looking across to the Capital, having tied up Chief Spirit, Justice, and Charity. A small crowd gathered, some bringing forth buckets of water for his horses, as they appeared hot and tired. Two were laden with large saddle bags or packs. Upon closer examination, some citizens became concerned about how thin the animals appeared. One was panting. Its’ ribs were showing, and a downtown worker said, “It looked as if the horse was about to pass out.” Police were dispatched to possible animal neglect. Now at the MPD, officers are known to have come to the job from very diverse backgrounds. So, perhaps, it should not come as a complete surprise that one responding to the scene has a BS Degree in Animal Science-Equine from UW-River Falls, and formerly worked as a professional in the horse industry. The officer is trained in using the Henneke method of Body Condition Scoring: a 1 to 10 scale used to determine the body fat on a horse. A score of 5 is considered healthy, 1 extremely emaciated and 10 excessively fat. The officer scored the horses: 2.5, 3.5, and the best ranked a 4. The officer found sores, signs of dehydration, and hooves that were in poor condition. The officer sent another to the local drug store to obtain a thermometer. She lifted the tails, made the insertions, and gathered the readings.
Meanwhile, the silver haired stranger talked of being on a mission from God of sorts, having ridden – he claims – from Daytona Beach to Madison since March. Said his destination, this go round, is Winnipeg, and that the saddle has pretty much been his home since 2002 when he rode out of Montana on one horse. Since then he says he’s been hoofing it from coast to coast, having increased his equine team to 3. He told officers he has no means to give his horses food or water, but said, “God would provide.” Along the trail, or highways, he says people help him out, and that the horses occasionally are stabled. Such was not the case Sunday night. He says that night he had them tied up outside of a Madison area motel. They faired better last night, having gotten a lift in the Madison Police Department’s horse trailer to Sun Prairie where the Humane Society arranged for proper stabling. As for their owner, he ended having to put his drink down and got a trip to the local jail. He was arrested for animal neglect, although he maintains the team is in great shape, as they are “all muscle and bone.”
The officer had also checked to see if he had proper paperwork for his horses, namely a Coggins certificate and Health Papers. The former horse professional, now wearing the badge, knows the documents need to be current in order to take horses across state lines. The horseman had a Coggins certificate for one horse, but none of the other necessary documents. However, he did hand the officer his “Letter of Commitment to Jesus” which he thought was important for her to see.
DeSpain was one of the best story-tellers ever to grace the Madison TV airwaves. It's nice to know he's still "got it".
(The photo of Joel DeSpain at the top of this post was stolen from the Madison Police Department website.)
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 9:00 AM