Note: Before you read this, please know that there is a happy ending to this story. We promise.
Earlier this year Hanaeleh facilitated the rescue of two horses out of a kill pen in Texas. This was one of many feedlots where the kill buyers send the horses right before they are sent across the border to Mexico for slaughter. There are kill pens across the northern US border as well.
Kill buyers will purchase horses that do not sell, or sell for very little, at auction. From there, they have a stop or two before they are sent to their deaths. Many of these kill buyers have discovered that they can get more money by working with advocacy groups and selling the horses for higher prices than they can get from the slaughterhouses. They have no problem taking their ’30 pieces of silver’ from whomever will give it to them.
In December 2022, Hanaeleh raised money to purchase two horses in Texas and arranged for a shipper to pick them up, but, sadly, right before they were set to be shipped, the mare, who had been named Bella by her new family, started to colic. The kill pen wasn’t even going to call the vet, but was going to allow her to suffer until she died. We are in another state (CA), it was late at night on a weekend, and we had to somehow facilitate getting a vet to go out there. Thankfully we did, but he determined that in addition to the colic she had contracted a respiratory illness that the kill pen had not bothered to treat, and she was just too weak and was not able to be saved. We did the only thing we could at that point- we had her humanely euthanized. The kill pen’s response to us was, essentially, that horses die.
They just didn’t care.
It was disgusting, knowing that we were giving money to these horrible people.
Another rescue group we were working with heard this story and helped us bail out another horse- a horse we had passed on because she was younger and thought she’d be okay. No one else had stepped up to save her, and she was cruelly slated to be put on the next truck to the slaughterhouse. She was only five years old! The family decided to keep the name Bella for the new mare, so both Bella II and a gelding, Whiskey, were on the next truck out of there!
More Lies from the Kill Pen
When Bella and Whiskey got to their new home it appeared that Whiskey was very ill. He had a cut on his leg that had developed cellulitis and he had contracted strangles at the feedlot that they did not treat and did not disclose until AFTER we had paid his bail. Right before he was ready to be picked up, the representative from the feedlot texted me with a story that he previously had strangles, but had recovered, and, “Oh, that he just had a little cut on his leg, but it looked fine.”
The truth is the people at the kill pen had put Whiskey on the truck with an untreated wound that had developed cellulitis as well as an active strangles case! We will note that we had a signed Coggins and a health certificate from a veterinarian saying BOTH horses were in good condition and safe to be transported across state lines.
This shows you the absolute corruption of not just the kill buyers, but also the veterinarians and government officials who turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals. When this was all said and done, we even looked into trying to file a report against the veterinarian, only to discover that he has had several reports filed against him, but somehow no action has been taken.
The new owner’s vet determined that Whiskey was too weak from being poorly fed and not given appropriate medical attention at the feed lot, and could not recover from the strangles in addition to the cellulitis. He had love at the end of his life, which is all the family could really do. We arranged for him to be humanely euthanized, but this entire ordeal was incredibly tragic and so traumatizing for the family (and us, of course).
An additional concern was that Bella had been in a trailer with Whiskey for two days, so she could have contracted strangles. We waited with baited breath for a month, hoping she would stay safe.
Bella’s New Life
Thankfully, Bella did not develop strangles and she began to thrive with her new family. She developed a shiny coat and her hooves improved with good food and exercise. Bella, however, was lonely, and the family wanted to get her a friend.
Hanaeleh was previously contacted by a woman whose niece had passed away. Her niece owned two horses who she loved dearly, but since she had unexpectedly passed away, and the aunt wanted to make sure that they went to a good home. Once it was obvious that Bella would be safe and healthy in her new home, we thought that these two horses would work with Bella’s family. Soon Bella had two new friends, Brooke and Rusty!
Whiskey still has a special place in the family’s hearts, even though they only knew him for a brief time. They still remember him, and made a lovely plaque to remind them of the horse they saved if only for a few days.
Bella’s Happy Ending
At the beginning of this year, Bella was slated to be shipped to slaughter. Today, she is safe, healthy and happy- with friends (she is the queen, of course!), and a very loving family.
We promised you a happy ending, didn’t we?
You can follow Bella and her family on their TikTok page!
Bella’s family created a video of how much they love Bella, and how much Bella loves them as well! She has grown close to the family’s daughter, to the point that she will lay down on the daughter’s lap and let her stroke her head and neck!