My immediate response to the hang tag from animal control was panic. All the confidence I had gradually built in my horses' condition, from the first visit of the strangers to my farm through the visit by the woman who had come to my hospital room just days before, it all crumbled under the weight of this new assualt on my already fragile psyche. Fear that I would lose my horses clouded the reality. Once again emotions ruled and logic seemed powerless.
Luckily that chaotic response didn't last for long because I was caught in a free fall. Had I stayed there, the results could have been devastating. It hadn't been twenty-four hours since I had been released from the hospital and my pain levels were still spiraling out of control. My body and my soul could handle no more. We all have limits and I had definitely met mine.
Dave had no concerns about a visit from animal control because he had learned from the experience with Kelly Panowicz. Both he and Lindsay had made it a point to follow the horse rescue stories on Animal Planet so they each now knew what starving and neglected horses look like. We could never again be tricked into believing our horses were at risk when they were actually fine.
While I didn't have Dave's faith and I hadn't seen any of my horses in nearly a month, I did know someone who had. To alleviate my fears I called the woman who had visited me in the hospital.
She was still at work so I had to be content to leave a message. While I waited for her return call I tried to remind myself of her comments in my hospital room. Even then I sweated bullets until she called me back. In the meantime Dave called AC and set up an appointment for them to come inspect my herd. He was so confident, it did soothe my fears just a little.
My new friend called me after she got off work. Our conversation was very reassuring as we again talked about my horses in detail. With this latest threat her comments about the horses were much more specific than they had been in my hospital room. She clearly heard my fears and realized the harm being done by this complaint.
It was her opinion that if anything a couple of the horses were actually a little on the "fat" side. I couldn't help but laugh with relief when I heard this. Yet I explained to her it was really more about hay bellies not tightened up because of lack of exercise since horses turned out for a few hours a day do not work hard enough to be fit, trim athletes. Hay bellies or a little over weight are not issues AC is concerned with, nor was there anything else about the horses' condition that animal control would care about that she had seen. It was her opinion the horses were well feed and obviously well cared for, happy horses. She found Dave and Lindsay's love of the horses obvious, genuine and refreshing, not the normal fare for horses needing rescue.
Knowing my concerns about conditions on my farm, my new friend called a good friend of hers. This woman has been the vet of record for horse rescue cases in another county for over twenty years. The two women talked about all the assorted issues that had been pointed out to me as things that would get me in trouble with AC. After their conversation, their conclusions were shared with me.
These two women with their years of combined experience saw no reason for concern. Neither woman saw anything on my farm that would cause alarm for animal control in any way.
This was the consensus of both women and shared with me so I would not fret about the malicious charges filed against me in this most vulnerable of times. Both women believed the person making this report was the one who should be investigated, not me.
Once I had talked with this new friend, I did feel some relief from the fear my horses would be seized. Still I struggled between the reality and the highly charged emotions that seem to rule when a person has been as sick as I was.
Looking back the best way I know to explain my response to all of this lies in the psychology of the human condition. Life doesn't make sense lots of times, but we humans need it to, so our emotions kick in supplying all kinds of illogical explanations just to provide answers and seek order.
When life gets as far out of kilter as mine did, logic made no sense because I could not explain all of the craziness that happened. It was easier for my beleaguered psyche to believe my horses must be at risk because I was so sick, than to accept there were people so evil they would exploit anyone as vulnerable as me and my family.
The thinking may be flawed....but it was normal considering the circumstances. That is why there are laws protecting the weak and vulnerable.....both because of such clouded thinking .....and those who exploit the vulnerable.
I may get the flaws in my thinking now, but then I struggled with fear of AC seizing my herd despite the fact my horses were living fat and sassy on my farm. My faith that right would prevail was strangled by the fact little about this had been right.
I remember this question kept playing over in my head. Who could be so cruel, so uncaring a person to make such an unfounded report knowing full well I had nearly died again and that my horses were that important to my recovery? Considering the details on the hang tag, there was only one person who came to mind. That was Kelly Panowicz.
Was I right? And how was I going to prove it?
To be continued.....
Animal Control Comes Calling........