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Review Board decision on Circle H Ranch (16 photos)

Thursday, February 21, 2013   by: Darren Taylor

A decision has been made regarding allegations of neglect of horses owned by Rebecca Hurley at Circle H Ranch, the business she owns and operates with her husband, Albert Hurley, on Case Road.

Hurley, as reported earlier by SooToday.com, had been fighting against some of the orders issued to her by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), stemming from complaints against Circle H last summer.

According to a decision dated February 19, 2013, and handed down by Rae Slater Legault, Chair of the Animal Care Review Board (a division of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services), Hurley will have to comply with some requirements regarding shelter for her horses, while the OSPCA will foot the bill for certain services performed throughout the course of the investigation.

The investigation, initiated on August 24, initially saw three young horses and five dogs ordered removed by OSPCA Inspector Trudy Archibald.

Over the course of the next few weeks, eight cats were trapped and removed but one evaded capture and remains at the ranch.

Another eight horses were removed on August 31.

Hurley was charged with causing/permitting unnecessary suffering of animals and OSPCA Agent Archibald issued several orders covering the care of the 39 horses and one cat remaining on the Ranch.

Although the initial orders to remove the animals came from the OSPCA, the animals are now in the custody of the courts and, during the ACRB hearings, the lead police investigator Sault Ste. Marie Police Detective Sergeant Jack Rice said the animals would not be returned to the Ranch until the conclusion of Hurley's Criminal and Provincial proceedings.

The question of who will have to pay the boarding and care costs for those animals while they are held was not addressed by the ACRB.

By the conclusion of the ACRB hearings in December of 2012, the total bill for all the care of both the animals in custody and the ones on the ranch had surpassed $60,000.

Eleven horses, five dogs and eight cats remain in the care of the OSPCA or on foster farms contracted by the OSPCA to board them at a cost of almost $200 a day. 

The orders issued for the animals remaining at the ranch covered mainly feeding, deworming and watering of the horses, as well as a veterinary examination and any care necessary for the cat. 

Hurley disputed some of these orders and complied with others.

The purpose of the ACRB hearing was to hear evidence from both sides regarding the orders in dispute.

It did not deal with any orders concerning the animals that had been removed from the Ranch because those animals are in the custody of the courts and ACRB Chair Legault said that, as a result, she had to jurisdiction over them.

The hearing took nine days that were spread over three different sittings in October, November and December of 2012, respectively. 

In that time period, all OSPCA orders were revoked but one, the order concerning man-made shelter for the 39 horses on the ranch.

In that, Chair Legault upheld the OSPCA order to build more shelters and modify some stalls in the barn but modified the order by extending the deadline as to when the shelters in the paddocks must be completed. 

The decision states that Hurley must construct three-sided, south-facing shelters for horses at the ranch in the paddocks, with an area of at least 16 feet by 16 feet, no later than April 30th.

Hurley had said, in several hearings held in Sault Ste. Marie with the Animal Care Review Board and OSPCA officers present (with the OSPCA represented by Toronto lawyer, Paula Thomas), that the horses had natural, adequate shelter provided by trees at the ranch.

SooToday.com Assignment Editor Carol Martin, a friend of Hurley, acted as Hurley's advocate at the proceedings.

The Board also stated that for horses kept in the ranch’s barn, the stalls are to be renovated, to be no less than 4-feet by 8-feet in size, and shall be cleaned daily with clean bedding supplied, effective immediately.

During the hearing Hurley indicated she is in the process of building extra shelter for the horses in an attempt to meet the original OSPCA order, though she insisted there has been adequate natural shelter all along.

She also said she could use the barn for any of the 39 horses remaining on the ranch that couldn't access the existing run-in shelters in the paddocks in cases of extreme weather conditions.

Also at issue were allegations the horses’ hooves were in need of better care.

The Board’s decision states that the horses hooves be examined and trimmed if necessary by a farrier (equine footcare specialist) of Hurley’s choice by March 1 2013, if further trimmings have not been done since a first trim was performed by farrier Kevin Palmer in August 2012.

That order has since been fulfilled.

Furthermore, the Board’s decision states the amount of $1,820 for Palmer’s farrier services be paid by the OSPCA.

During the hearing, Hurley didn't argue that some of the horses hooves needed care and said she had appointments booked with her own farrier for six days after the initial launch of the investigation. 

Hurley's farrier didn't come to the farm, though.

Palmer's assistant and horse handler, B.J. Kinsell made a courtesy call to him to tell him Palmer was going to be workng in the Circle H barn.

"He [Hurley's farrier John Munnock] said that's fine, I have other things to do anyway," Kinsell testified during the hearing in December. 

Hurley maintained that the cost of using her own farrier would have been significantly less than the amount charged by Palmer and that her farrier's foot care would have been superior because he was familiar with her horses and their feet after caring for them for 16 years. 

In her decision, Legault said it would have been appropriate for OSPCA Agent Archibald to order the horses hooves to be examined and cared for by a qualified farrier but that Hurley should have had a choice to use what ever farrier she wanted.

"It soon became obvious that Cindy Ross [Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society Shelter Manager] and Agent Archibald took complete control of the farrier services being rendered," said the Chair in her decision.

Circle H Ranch is a scenic property of over 100 acres consisting of wooded areas, several large and a few small paddocks, a barn, house, and several other out buildings.

It offers guided trail rides, pony rides, hay rides and winter sleigh rides both on and off the property.

Hurley has been the ranch's major owner and operator at Circle H for the past 16 years.

City Police and Sault Ste. Marie Humane society officials (acting as agents for the OSPCA) went to Circle H Ranch August 24, 2012 and searched the facility after receiving a complaint that there were at least a dozen emaciated horses at the ranch.

Hurley has stated her horses that were underweight, not emaciated, had lost weight quickly and she was trying to treat them for what she suspected were internal parasites that are resistant to standard methods of control and elimination.

After inspecting the ranch, the OSPCA issued a compliance order against Hurley dated September 17, 2012, requiring Hurley to meet OSPCA standards of nutrition, shelter and care, with proof of compliance to be provided by January 18, 2013.

Hurley told the Board the horses involved, as well as other animals, were not victims of neglect, but had been suffering from treatment-resistant internal parasites for which she had been treating them when they were taken from the ranch.

Hurley, when asked to clarify certain details for the Board by Carol Martin at a hearing in December, said the horses had been de-wormed and were undergoing a special homegrown feeding program to bring the horses’ weight back to normal.

The OSPCA revoked the feeding orders when they were satisfied that the horses had gained enough weight and were healthy.

OSPCA officers had also expressed concern about the condition of the horses' feet and ordered they be attended to by a qualified farrier.

The OSPCA said local farrier Kevin Palmer stated in a report there were signs of infection in some of the horses’ feet.

Hurley had disputed that claim, maintaining Palmer’s report was “biased” against Circle H Ranch and the types of cracks and chips (on the horses’ feet) listed by Palmer “are not serious.”

"It's just like you or I breaking a nail on a cupboard door or something," she had told the Board in December, and “not something that needs to be looked at right away."

She told the Board her own farrier of choice was scheduled to arrive and take care of the horses’ hooves August 30, six days after Palmer was retained by the Humane Society to care for the Circle H horses on August 24.

She said no one checked with her, and she objected to the fact that a farrier unfamiliar with her horses was caring for them when her own farrier of 16 years, John Munnoch, could have kept his appointment. 

While the OSPCA hearings are over, Hurley still faces criminal offences and faces hearings before Criminal Court and the Provincial Court of Ontario in connection with the charges.

Her next court appearance is in March.

(Photo shown, Romeo, a stud and a horse of concern or hard keeper - December 26. All photos submitted by Kristie Lynn Tulloch with the exception of photo 15 in the gallery which was taken by SooToday.com's Donna Hopper during this year's Bon Soo Winter Carnival.) 

View Photo Gallery for this Story

Comments
53
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Slim Shady 2/21/2013 8:07:29 AM Report

It sounds to me that this individual was caring for more animals than she was capable or competent to. This is shameful. How you treat animals reflects on how you treat people. I pass quite a few “hobby farms” on way to work each day… horses without a barn to get out of freezing rain et cetera. Many of these places are on less than an acre lot. What kind of life do three horses have in this situation? Horses need a lot of care and attention… love too! They are not like a barn yard cat! Horses with sores on their hooves are not given dry straw bedding and/or stalls are not mucked out frequently. If your horses are sick with a parasite and loose weight, you call a veterinarian?! This person should not be allowed to have animals if the are unwilling, unable or don’t have enough money to care for them. The tax payers should not have to foot any of the cost associated with this investigation. She should be charged.
tab&j 2/21/2013 8:13:27 AM Report

Do you feel better now that you got that off your chest...lol
justin case 2/21/2013 8:22:47 AM Report

I hope one of the horses kicks her in the ass!
clara 2/21/2013 8:35:46 AM Report

Should have showed photos of the horses and dogs that were removed. As the saying goes "a picture tells a thousand words." Complaints have been made about this ranch for years; finally something has been done and people are upset?
Sofahorse 2/21/2013 8:54:24 AM Report

Been to their ranch for a kids party, DISGUSTING is all i have to say. The horses, the bans, the shelters, yard, everything was disgusting. The owners unfortunately do not have people skills and are not approachable. Very sad for any animal that is kept on that ranch.

Mind you, the horses that they use for the parades and community events are taken care of. Their nice WHITE prize horses are sure to look nice a few days before an outing.
JustMe1234567 2/21/2013 8:58:36 AM Report

I think these people really do love these animals. Maybe it got out of hand and there were too many but I think if she didn't care she would have just let them all go when the humane society came. She is fighting for them, and that ain't cheap to do. So god bless her.
j.r.98 2/21/2013 9:18:41 AM Report

Let's talk money here, and just about the horses. If it costs $200. 00 per day for the care of 11 horses how in the heck was this person able to care for 39. That is over $700.00 for the care of these horses each day. She must be making a sweet income.
anam_cara 2/21/2013 9:44:33 AM Report

Unless you are a responsible horse owner with experience in properly caring for horses, please do not comment on the level of care that you perceive others' animals are receiving. Horses will often stand out in freezing rain, wind, what-have-you...even with proper shelter available. Shutting horses up in a barn is not necessarily the best option of care in every circumstance. It has been proven that horses that live outside the majority of the time are in fact healthier and happier.

There is no question that Rebecca Hurley loves her horses. But there is also no question that she does not have the financial means to care for that many horses properly. Anyone with half a brain can see when a horse is malnourished. And horses do not become 300lbs underweight overnight, so her argument that they were suffering from a mysterious parasite overload is ridiculous. Huge groups of horses all together will result in some being malnourished as they all fight for position and food, and the low man on the totem pole gets the least food of all.

To add insult to injury, she was breeding and adding to her horse population. Anyone paying any attention to the horse market for the past 5 yrs knows that it's in the toilet, with equine values on the decline, and many unwanted horses going for cheap or even free. Who in their right mind would continue breeding a less-than-stellar stud on a farm where they're already overcrowded and under funded?

I'm glad the law has finally done something about some of the poor horses in our area who are being neglected. Unfortunately, it's just the tip of the iceberg...there are many more local horses that could use some intervention.
Bad Dawg 2/21/2013 10:29:06 AM Report

.....if you love your animals you wouldn't let them deteriorate. She sounds like those animal hoarders on TV with 55 tigers that live in crappy cages and are not healthy. she can't see the wrong she is doing because she doesn't think she did anything wrong.
She should have to pay the bill for boarding these animals during the ivestigation that she was found guilty in..... I love my dogs too but if I couldn't take care of them I sure as hell wouldn't let them suffer because I simply want them.

Make her pay back the debt her lack of care of her horses caused others.
retalynnguay 2/21/2013 12:34:54 PM Report

I grew up knowing this family and the daughter is a close friend of mine who was helping take care of the horses but when her mother kicked her off the property that's when the horses health started to fail. If you went on to the property you would be ashamed to see how many plots there are of deceased animals. This woman told me she didn't care taking care of the farm but took that privilege away from the one person who wanted to care for these horses. This woman doesn't deserve to have any animals in her care and I hope to god they find a way to put her away. I have lost all respect for her and for what she has done to these poor animals. I loved that farm and because of her I can't go near it or on it. I hope you rot in jail Rebecca Hurley and that your daughter gets everything back that you don't deserve.
ThinkAgain 2/21/2013 1:25:27 PM Report

The owner should be responsible to pay all expensive and should be put on a watch/return list, so it doesn't happen again.
Prrrrrrr 2/21/2013 1:30:18 PM Report

retalynnguay
Good for you! I read the article and thought she should too:) And I don't even know the family...the part about slamming or catching the cupboard door on your finger set off alarms!!! If I break a nail I can fix it...I'm human...horses can't that's why they need GOOD owners...A broken nail can be a huge source of pain. Cruelty to animals is a warning sign!!! What else might be in those graves.
Slim Shady 2/21/2013 1:59:21 PM Report

@anam_cara

I have been around farms all my life. You are full of crap. Unless they are "wild mustangs" Horses require protection from the elements. They need to get out of the bone chilling wind. Yes they may choose to stay outside at times but they still need to be dried off, brushed etc. If she couldn't afford to care for the horses, she shouldn't have any. People who are bleeding hearts that want to take in every stray even though they can't afford to don't get a ground pass! I would rather see a horse put down than to see them slowly suffer. Unless you have a profitable business, 39 horses at $700/day care is insane to do out of pocket!!! I agree with Bad Dawg... she sounds like a hoarder.... It's a sickness.
GrandmaTina 2/21/2013 2:22:47 PM Report

Ok for 1. If there was a "grave site" on her property why did they not find it? 2. If she was so terrible why did they leave so many animals with her? 3. Why does the ospca say oh if you pay this amount of money you can have the animals back if your so terrible? 4. Why do they not investigate ALL complaints? Oh guess they wont be able to make money off of certain ones eh....... Money hungry pieces of garbage thats what they are! Why can't people realize by there own statements that they use donation money to pay high priced lawyers to fight the cases they have? GRRRRRRRR They make me so sick. Then they have thier link mob to attack people
anam_cara 2/21/2013 2:23:10 PM Report

@ Slim Shady

You might find the following links helpful in updating your education on good horse care:

http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-keeping/outdoor-living.aspx

http://www.all-natural-horse-care.com/living-outside-year-round.html

Also, please note that I did not say that horses do not require care or shelter. What I said was that just because a horse is outside in inclement weather does not mean its care needs are not being properly met.
GrandmaTina 2/21/2013 2:35:18 PM Report

Ok So if she is a hoarder why did they not take ALL the animals? Come on use commen sence, they took the ones they think they can sell fast. Go read some of the articles from different people who have gone through stuff with them. Grow up people why the crappy comments? Do you not think this could have started over her daughter wanting to take over the farm? Her daughter has stated in her statement to police that she would like to rip her throat out, now come on how can you believe such a person who can state that garbage? If everyone is so concerned over the welfare of these animals then get off your butts and go help her then, oh wait thats would be to much now wouldnt it. The ospca is a corrupt business that claims they are there for the animals when truly they are there for the money! Check out other articles and you will have the proof!
retalynnguay 2/21/2013 2:42:51 PM Report

Are you kidding me right now? Who the hell are you to say if she said anything if she said that don't you think she would have been charged? I would help out but the woman disgusts me really. No one wants to help HER they just want to help the horses.
Slim Shady 2/21/2013 3:02:53 PM Report

@GrandmaTina

You are too much?! A conspiracy? Oh the evil SPCA bureaucracy?! Ohhhh now this woman is a victim? Bullsh@#!

Why didn’t they do more? A lot of times they are overwhelmed…. Where are you going to put 39 horses, 5 dogs and a zillion cats? How many people (foster care for animals) do you think there are? Do you want to room and board a horse?! Give me a break… they took away the best horses that are valuable and easy to sell?

I love you conspiracy theorists, always thinking that the government is evil and out to get you. I would not want to be the SPCA, it is a hard job seeing the worst that people do to other creatures. I would have taken the owners and chained them in a small undersized stall and allow them to wallow in their own sh$%... starve them to death and see if they don’t get parasites!!!!!!!

People like you who find excuses for sick people make me want to puke. Granny Go knit yourself some blinders for your eyes.

Slim Shady 2/21/2013 3:06:15 PM Report

@GrandmaTina

Why the hell should I donate my time and money to her? You idiot!

An if I went up there to put 39 horses out of their misery, I would take her out of her misery at the same time.

Why don't you go up there?
retalynnguay 2/21/2013 3:08:21 PM Report

GrandmaTina

Ok So if she is a hoarder why did they not take ALL the animals? Come on use commen sence, they took the ones they think they can sell fast.

>> a blind mare? 2 draft horses with breathing issues? and colts that won't be any bigger than ponies? to name a few of the ones taken...sure- high sellers right there!

Do you not think this could have started over her daughter wanting to take over the farm?

>> for one there's a ton of money that would have to be put into that place to make it worth anything again, since it has not been maintained! Just look at the fencing and posts. Lets not even get started about the deplorable conditions of the house! No human being (in their right mind) would live in a house that resembles a postcard photograph for the TV show hoarders and actively makes the residents sick with headaches and nosebleeds on a daily basis.
Her daughter has stated in her statement to police that she would like to rip her throat out, now come on how can you believe such a person who can state that garbage?

>> don't you think if that was the case the daughter would be up on charges? something along the lines of uttering death threats? especially if it was supposedly stated in a police statement?! The question becomes what kind of a person is spreading such rumours?

If everyone is so concerned over the welfare of these animals then get off your butts and go help her then, oh wait that would be to much now wouldn't it.

>> funny you should say that because the only reason that place has been able to run was on the sweat and tears of volunteers while Rebecca herself is usually found in the house sleeping until noon on most days or on the computer...

Check out other articles and you will have the proof!

>> what other articles? do tell
GrandmaTina 2/21/2013 3:09:22 PM Report

Nice to see death threats are allowed on here.
retalynnguay 2/21/2013 3:14:04 PM Report

What death threats? I am only stating that these horses are going to be the ones to suffer not anyone else.
retalynnguay 2/21/2013 3:16:24 PM Report


perhaps sootoday should check their facts- as the article has several errors in "facts"

and the pictures...

labelled as:Pic#3- "Jessie - a pony" -Is actually a pony by the name of Angel

labelled as :pic#8- "Chakira, a horse of concern - December 26" - Is actually a horse by the name of Bonnie, (not "shakira" who is a pony)
kbaybiie 2/21/2013 3:38:25 PM Report

Shelter - all these horses are Quarter horse or Paints or other breeds that do infact grow a thick undercoat for winter unlike a Thoroughbred or and other fancy dancy horse breeds. There is infact tons of large trees in the main paddock that allows for natural shelter.

Cost : PER DAY = PER HORSE
One half bale of hay = $2.00 per day
Mineral supplement = 0.17 per day
Salt block = $0.04 per day
Two two cup servings of inexpensive concentrate per day = $1.00
Farrier every six weekS = $0.83 day
Dewormer every 3 months = $0.20 per day
Dentistry once a year = $0.35 per day
Annual basic core vaccinations of rabies, tetanus, equine influenza, and other routine vaccines = $0.27 per day
bedding = 1.00 per day
TOAL = $5.86. PER DAY PER HORSE

(Board I've seen no more then $200 a month and boarding with full care is all of this or should be)
THIS IS ALL BASED ON YOUR AVERAGE 15 hand / 1100 LB

SO I'm assuming this 200 a day is for all the animals not just one.

AND if they took a belgian gelding they scored the same as one of the Studs - Levi - why didn't they take Levi?! oh because he's a stud and he's harder to handle. Yet they'll leave him.

And sure take a blind mare that had nothing worng with her and force her to learn a new area, meet new horses / causing more stress on her!

Oh then there's Kara pictured in the earlier article as the head lining picture. She's a horse that was regularly ridden / was competed / yet she's obviously not emaciated and they show the OSPCA taking her? hmmmm ...

And not to mention a few others that ARE WORTH MONEY.

OH AND HER DAUGHTER. The one that tried to use a silent partner to sell the ranch on her mother... that had one of her friend RAM the front gate with her truck. Yeah... such innocence. Not to mention she boarding chickens there that are taking up one of the stalls and if she was so scared of her mother do you honestly think she would be?!\

People obviously believe what they see/read. Negativity has been on this ranch for so long. OF COURSE when something positive comes along everyone is like vultures and attacks. And WHY WOULD A PROVINCIAL SPCA OFFICER HAVE TO COME IN IF TRUDY WAS DOING HER JOB RIGHT?! No the provincial officer is the one who got the orders revoked.

I don't have anything against what the OSPCA is meant for but I DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THOSE THAT RUN OUR OSPCA FOR THIS CITY.
kbaybiie 2/21/2013 3:42:52 PM Report

@ retalynnguay

So coming from someone who has said hasn't been there in 10 years how would YOU know Shakira is the one in Pic8? (you are right) Shakira is a horse that hasn't been at the ranch for long... so how do you know this?

I know you've known Brit since you were 5 so OBVIOUSLY friendship rules here.
GrandmaTina 2/21/2013 3:57:28 PM Report

@kbaybiie

AMEN TO YOU!!!
anam_cara 2/21/2013 4:07:48 PM Report

kbaybiie...

So by your own calculations, the cost of properly caring for 50 head of horses is rougly $8790 per month, not including any insurance costs and repairs to buildings/farm equipment that goes along with running a boarding facility and trail riding operation.

Are you arguing that the Hurley's were spending upwards of $9000 per month, the horses were all in good health, and that the local SPCA conducted nothing but an unfounded witch hunt?

Come on now....
GrandmaTina 2/21/2013 4:13:49 PM Report

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/08/05/man-bites-back-at-spca

http://www.betterfarming.com/online-news/charges-dropped-against-horse-owner-4504

http://www.farmersforum.com/JULY2011/p1.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/peter-worthington/ontario-spca-raids_b_1912371.html
kbaybiie 2/21/2013 4:16:05 PM Report

LOL ! @anam_cara

-sighs- lol well with all the evidence honestly.. come on now... Photo's can be mutilated to look back, take a picture from a bad angle and you can catch any horses looking skinny. You can take what you want from my post but honestly I don't give a flying ... anyways.

You can think what you want but I'm throwing truthful facts out there. Not b.s like 98% of the people here. if she's owned the ranch for 16 years... hmm lets think horses she had back then were anywhere from 4-10 years old add 16 years on to that... that makes them 20 to 26 years old... the average lifespan is 20-25 if lucky 30+. just like humans things happen that you can't expect or prepare for. The older the horse most likely the lower on the pecking order meaning that the less food it's allowed. Becky does have individualized feeding plan for her seniors.

Not to mention most of the complaints/witnesses against the Hurleys are from those who are involved kids ... fishy there don't you think?

Get a grip this is all bullying at its worse.
{scott} 2/21/2013 4:46:48 PM Report

I disagree with claiming that these paints and quarters grow a thick undercoat. May I please call BS? I have a very nice registered quarter that has never grown a good coat. It is not a fact that they all do. Numbers don't make a difference here as the situation is about neglect, not how much money some donkey thinks OSPCA will make. The foster horses aren't quality animals, truly, they aren't. Screaming about the OSPCA is only trying to draw attention away from the problems of the farm involved.
I also think Grandma is a little off her rocker. Why would the public have to help an irresponsible farmer? It was not the publics choice to own all of those animals. It was the farmers choice, and it was they who failed those animals and should be held responsible, not the general public.

The people involved on the Circle H side sound a little crazy if I might say. There have been problems with some of them trying to locate foster homes and harassing people for information. Just so they understand they aren't being clever, just ridiculous.

Final note, I don't mind Darren Taylor on the radio. He does make a lot of errors in his report that should be clarified. Kevin Palmer is not a vet, he is a farrier. Please don't write in haste, take the time and do a good job.
kbaybiie 2/21/2013 5:51:50 PM Report

OKAY . But scott do answer me this how much is that horse inside? Because artifical light and low lighting can reduce the amount of a winter coat believe it or not. Remember these horses are outdoors alot. So they've gotten acustom to growing nice winter coats. Please.. thats not BS.

lmao... The OSPCA isn't doing their job.. I can assure you I'm not "chasing" these fosters down.
SooToday Moderator 2/21/2013 6:00:52 PM Report

We apologize for stating that Kevin Palmer is a vet.

The story has been corrected.

razer 2/21/2013 6:26:34 PM Report

Am I missing something here? According to the decision and conclusion of the 9 day hearing which was handed down by the well versed chairperson of the Animal Care Review Board (a division of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services), all of the orders that were previously made were all dropped but one, and even that order was given additional time and amendment, furthermore, the Board’s decision states the amount of $1,820 for Palmer’s farrier services be paid by the OSPCA... this indicates to me that .. these decisions are the focus of the hearing and and indicate that the Hurley's should not have received the original orders .. I will be interested to find out if the criminal charges are dropped and if given the opportunity would bet that they will be given the conclusions of this report. Owning and maintaining a farm, and farm animals is an ongoing process that comes with challenges and responsibilities, given that the orders were dropped, it would seem to me that the bulk of responsibilty was being met, however, the challenges will continue for the circle H as they would for any farm
{scott} 2/21/2013 6:38:54 PM Report

Please don't try to play know-it-all on here kbaybiie, some of us have had horses over 40 years and aren't impressed by you. My horses are none of your business, I am not under investigation.

I also didn't accuse you of anything, but if you feel guilty....

Thank you for correcting the story.
kbaybiie 2/21/2013 8:00:11 PM Report

@ scott: and you think everyone is impressed by you?... and you can throw things in my face but I can't yours? alright then...

And these horses aren't any of your business so why comment? lol

Well it's kinda funny that you said what you did after my comment...

@razer thank you person that can see past the b.s.
whitefeathers 2/21/2013 10:11:00 PM Report

Rebecca and Albert Hurley have always cared for their pets. They took over from the perverse Horse Ranch owner who was there before them and perverse owner didn’t care.

This story has got out of hand.

I’ve know these folks for years and if they had the opportunity to have excess to few more funds $$$ over the years they would and still could show everyone in the Sault were their care starts and never ends towards their pets.

Each one of those horses has names and personalities and are all Rebecca & Albert Hurley’s favourites....

If we all donated $5.00 or more each in the Sault area and put our money were it could be in helping Rebecca and Albert Hurley these problems their having would never exist, and their horses would be forever as always pleasant to be around.

From admirers and Friends; Horse Whisper & Mother. :)
{scott} 2/21/2013 10:12:00 PM Report

@kbaybiie Just because I don't want to share information on my horses doesn't mean that I don't have every right to comment on the situation with Circle H. It only means that my personal situation is not up for debate.

These horses are part of my business as I have been photographing them since September as part of a project. I'm certain that is more than you have to offer for accuracy.

The comments that I made were in order of appearance, there is no other option on this site. Responses are in order, not all directed at the previous responder.
TLD 2/21/2013 11:22:08 PM Report

I'm only speaking from my opinion on this subject.
I'm not pointing fingers at the Circle H people and their supporters nor am I disrespecting anyone else's views on this subject.

I do have first hand knowledge of some of these horses so lets get that out of the way.
The ones I've seen we're emaciated, there is no other word to describe their condition. It is not ONLY because of age, parasite infestation, or lack of feed. It is in MY OPINION that the owner became overwhelmed with the number of horses she had to care for compounded by an extremely hot, dry summer that caused poor pasture quality.

I try and see the good in people and I also try and put myself in their position to see how I might handle this if it were me.

Yes this has gotten out of hand but in my view it was because Mr. & Mrs. Hurley allowed it to.
Though their intentions may have been good the result has not been.

Sometimes you have to step back and look at the problem from a distance in order to see the full magnitude. This is a problem that does not have an easy ending.

Trying to help bail them out with donations is only going to drag out the inevitable. This business can not sustain itself....there is to much overhead.
We are not talking about inanimate objects...we are talking about living breathing animals as well as a family who has lost their way.

For those who stand on the sidelines trashing the daughter....shame on you.
For the parents who allow this....shame on you too.
Families are complicated and no matter what happens at the end of the day THEY are still FAMILY and none of us have any business casting stones.
So to all you so called friends....start being just that and keep your harsh remarks to yourselves.
Allow this family to put their lives back together without your opinions about who did or didn't do what and who's to blame.

Unfortunatly though some really hard decisions have to be made about the horses.
Rebecca , Albert....these animals may mean the world to you....you may say that you love them.
I honestly don't doubt that you do...but your love isn't healthy for them. Some of the older horses need special and individual care in order to live out the rest of their lives happy and healthy.

This is only a suggestion but maybe the "TWO" of you should sit down together and decide what is best. Make a list of the horses that you NEED and that WILL be sustainable to run your business.
You've carried the weight of to many animals it's time to lift that weight and move on in the right direction....a direction that will get your business and family back on track.

No one is saying this is easy but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

I truly believe if you do this you will find support from people you never expected, and you may (I'm just guessing) even find that the officials you have been fighting with support you as well.

This is a messy situation for everyone involved...including the foster homes.
kbaybiie 2/22/2013 3:03:30 PM Report

@ scott you're not the only one that has taken these horses photos throughout the years... but i'm done with you.

@whitefeathers Thank you :) and it's true each one does have different personalities. For instance: Levi is one of the most calm/sweetest studs you'll ever meet, and on the other hand Biscuit can be quite spooky and stubborn (he thought a deer was going to kill him) and yes still needs a bit of work.

@TLD I can assure you that and yes some were underweight I don't disagree however "emaciated" was not the degree of it. Which leads me to wonder about the true expertice that the OSPCA and vet here have... Not to mention the police are the ones withholding the horses (most of whom know little to nothing about horses). not to mention how many other horses in this town are a "little underweight" (showing rib). If you look at any herd yes some are going to be fatter then others and all of the horses were in a social herd. Lad, Babe, Spook, Kara were more so the underdogs in the whole herd. How I know this? well they are always out together with the herd... which consists of: Rookie, Lady, Zephyr, Stormy, Comet, Tom, Bonnie, Beau and Mac. Mac and Beau are the leads of the herd while Lad, Babe, Spook, Kara fell to the bottom of the pecking order.

Do you know their daughter? no ... I'll leave he comments about her out of it from this point on but do know she played a *huge* part in this and severly hurt her mother.

But this is my last post so from here on out I'll let the courts decide on what should be done. Obviously Rae Slater Legault, Chair of the Animal Care Review Board has already seen past the bs here.

{scott} 2/22/2013 6:30:50 PM Report

@kbaybiie Thank you for no longer posting, it will be a more positive atmosphere from here on in I am sure.
Insulting their daughter is something that is distasteful at best. Parents don't typically allow someone to attack their children, I find this permission disturbing.

@TLD Very well said. That was probably the most encouraging thing I've read on here during this.

@whitefeather I understand your desire to help a friend, we all have that. I do want to point out that if you were in dire straits and couldn't afford your bills, you certainly wouldn't expect the general public to donate to you. A business doesn't ask for donations either, they liquidate their assets. Your heart is in the right place, but this is their responsibility.

I do hope this case concludes in the best interest of the animals involved. There seems to be a large divide between the supporters of the ranch and others. I think that we all should have some common ground in wanting what is best for the animals involved. Maybe we can at least agree on that.
kbaybiie 2/22/2013 7:23:44 PM Report

@Scott: Please don't be so arrogant and think that you make is "Positive" either. But I hate to admit it, I agree that we should find some common ground and see what is best for the animals. even if our opinions differ. But like I said the courts will decide this.
TLD 2/23/2013 8:54:47 AM Report

@kbaybiie

I did not use the term emaciated lightly when I referred to the condition of some of the horses.
I can not nor will I assume to know what experience the local officials have in regards to determining the condition of the animals in question.
I will say that I have over 40 years experience with horses and the ones I'm referring to were not just a little riby.
Unfortunatly we can not post the pictures of these horses because the case is still in front of the courts and these photos are evidence.

What I can say with the upmost of certainty is that if these horses were returned back to Circle H in the same condition they were removed....Circle H and the public would be pointing the finger at the foster homes and officials screaming abuse.

As far as knowing the family....no.
Though I certainly wish them the very best in getting their lives and relationships back on track.
So unless any of us are blood relatives and even if you are....keep the personal family problems personal. Don't drag any of them through the mud.

I agree that the welfare of the animals is the most important, even if we can't agree on anything else.

I really have nothing else to add except I wish all those directly involved the wisdom to make the right decision whatever that might be.
I also wish the Hurley family the peace of mind that they require to mend their family without any negative outside interference.

I stand behind everything I said in my previous post...not of it was meant to be malicious in nature.
GotRotties 2/23/2013 9:05:33 PM Report

TLD...you say "I'm only speaking from my opinion on this subject"...and yet you say that "WE" cannot show pictures of the said horses because the pictures are part of the case and cannot be shown...who is this "we"..if find it interesting that you use this word..."we"... is "we" the people that repeatedly called either the humane society or the police about this case or "we" the people that have something to gain from this case...just wondering as the use of the collective "WE" sounds a little bit revealing.
{scott} 2/24/2013 12:22:19 AM Report

@GotRotties After reading your extremely paranoid comment I thoroughly read the comments you addressed. I only found 3 "we" in all of TLDs comments. They were the only poster that had kind words and understanding for the Hurleys. Might I suggest medication to quell your paranoia?

But to try to understand your view, I will explain the obvious. When a person uses the word "we", they are usually meaning more than one person...correct? Now the fact that we (as a group of people) have all been discussing this situation, I think that covers two of the "we" words. But the third must have your knickers in a knot because it refers to photos of the horses....Surprise!! Many of us have photos of them....or rather, "we" have photos. Therefore covering the theory of more than one person involved.

I have admitted to seeing these horses and taking photos yet you are kind enough not to target me, thank you. There is a very LARGE group of people who have donated their time and efforts to help these animals. Unfortunately they have been met with anger, threats and stalking. What if these people who helped stopped? What would happen when the need was there? These people have set aside much of their personal time and put themselves (and their families)in a potentially harmful situation....just to help animals that cannot ask. Instead of being so aggressive and a part of that force that is out to hurt the people helping, why don't you appreciate the fact that they are willing to.

There is not even a thank you, there is only the knowledge of knowing they are doing the right thing. They aren't making any money, they are not being paid for their time. They are caring for, exercising, and providing a safe and nurturing environment. I know this for a fact as I have seen it and empathize with these people. I know that if someone had threatened and stalked my family, I would have shown up at the stalkers front door. The one thing that I have learned by talking with the foster care providers, is that they aren't people who scare easily and they won't back down.

My advice is to stop being so paranoid and start thinking of the animals.
SweetStuff 2/24/2013 3:30:41 AM Report

@ kbaybiie: Did you forget about an email which included a couple of photos I sent you? I still have it, and your response. I believe it starts with "ouf levi is really bad.."

I also sent something similar to Carol Martin, and guess what I have her response too. The fact that you both saw the images and responded with what you did PRIOR to any of the SPCA being involved says ALOT! proves you both lied and continue to lie and are being blindly lead along.

"...and all of the horses were in a social herd. Lad, Babe, Spook, Kara were more so the underdogs in the whole herd. How I know this? well they are always out together with the herd... which consists of: Rookie, Lady, Zephyr, Stormy, Comet, Tom, Bonnie, Beau and Mac. Mac and Beau are the leads of the herd while Lad, Babe, Spook, Kara fell to the bottom of the pecking order. "

Interesting you should mention Comet, because she deceased. You forgot, however to mention Tyler, Dora, Ziggy, and Arrow. Must have been a slip of the mind since you're out there oh so much (which again you mention in that email.."i hope things get better :( i really wish i could come out more") and know all there is to know. I guess that is why in a few of the photos you provided for this story you couldn't even tell which horse or pony was actually in it?

And FYI kara was not an "underdog"- just because they group with certain horses in the field, does not mean they stay in that group when it come to pecking order over hay

"Do you know their daughter? no ... I'll leave he comments about her out of it from this point on but do know she played a *huge* part in this and severly hurt her mother."

YOU don't even know me so how can you talk? I honestly think I can count the number of times we "hung out" on one hand! Oh right all the crap you've "heard" right?

For the record- I was on the road, in fact in Espanola travelling home from Toronto when I got the initial phone call asking if I knew what was going on because Police were apparently there and the phone was cut off. I knew just as much as both mom & dad at that point! I didn't start this at all, but I am growing tired of the BS that surrounds it!
GotRotties 2/24/2013 6:46:03 AM Report

Scott..paranoid?? Maybe you should read my responce again..I made reference only to one comment..and I asked a totally legitimate question. I never asked anything about what you or anyone else said. People are posting on here and its a public forum and as such people have the right to discuss what is being said..it's a very simple statement or question and hardly "paranoid". You seem a little paranoid rushing bach to read her comments and explain away every "WE" she used..I never referenced all the "we"s I only referenced the one "we" she used regrading the photos...its a very simple observation and comment.. I love animals and I stand for and donate to their rescue and their rights daily..I just wonder about all the people on here arguing back and forth, obviously they seem to know one another and are making veiled comments about everyone involved..if they have something to say they should say it outright, otherwise they should keep their comments to themselves. I dont think blackening the name of either the mother and father OR the daughter with innuendo is the fair thing to do. Might I suggest some reading comprehension courses for you.
TLD 2/24/2013 7:58:26 AM Report

Yes I used the word "we"....for the exact reason "Scott" pointed out.

NO WHERE have I said anything malicious about the Hurley family. As a matter of fact it was the exact opposite.

If you are simply trying to figure out who I am and where I stand on this, those answers are in my posts.

As far as knowing who each person on here is...I haven't got a clue....nor do I care.
Though I do find myself agreeing with "Scott".

Honestly if you have nothing constructive to add, our conversation is over.
GotRotties 2/24/2013 8:34:06 AM Report

yes as all the conversations that you think you cannot possibly add anything intelligent to are "over".
TLD 2/24/2013 9:52:14 AM Report

Really.....now who needs a lesson reading comprehension.
GotRotties 2/24/2013 7:07:38 PM Report

you
{scott} 2/24/2013 8:41:13 PM Report

Is there something in your angry words that I am missing? From everything I have been reading, and I did have to reread your strange messages, I still fail to see why you seem to want to accuse people of veiled identities and gaining anything from this situation. No persons have said they want these horses, no person has claimed to be out to harm the Hurleys. You seem to believe that somewhere in here is a hidden group that are gathering to slight someone. That does sound paranoid. It isn't the case that I'm aware of.

With all the threats, stalking, and attempts to track down people involved, WHY would someone want to speak up and give their identities? Do you realize that foster homes have had to install security cameras to have peace of mind? They know that farms are being watched. I will not say who I am although I would like to say that I do support the animals and that is all that should really matter. When this case is over, I will be releasing my photos to the public. Maybe then, there will be the realization that what has happened to these horses is real.

Rather than being so hateful, try to be more understanding. This isn't all about you.....is it? It's more about Babe, Kara, Ziggy, Dora, Spook, etc. If they had been beaten and cut up the voices would've been louder, but starved just doesn't get the same support I guess.
GotRotties 2/25/2013 8:16:24 PM Report

I dont know where you get the "angry" or "hateful" from youre the only one attacking people...you have attacked everyone on here that either asked a question or commented in such a way as to make you think they oppose your view. As I said before it is a public forum if you cannot accept anyone elses comments then please go write a blog and then you will be the only person able to comment, because apparently you have to have the last word regardless what anyone else says.
Horse Person 2/26/2013 12:17:31 PM Report

I've put off commenting for months now but finally have had enough. I don't understand why some people get such perverse pleasure out of judging, insulting and hurting others. What gives you the "god complex" and right to judge others. How many of you that are judging others would fare well if a spotlight was shining on your life. How many of you are or have underage drinkers and drug users in the family?How many have horses on small; illegal acreages with not near enough room for them. Do your horses stand in mud and crap every spring and fall? I know for a fact some of you that are judging Circle H wouldn not want people focusing on your business or home life. In the States at least, accused have a right to face their accusers; and you are innocent until proven guilty.

I have owned horses for MANY years. That doesn't make you an expert by the way. I know some people that know more about horses that have only owned some for a few horses than long term owners. The same applies to vets and farriers. Some are much more specialized than others. To say most horses don't get winter, furry coats sufficient to handle harsh winters is false; they do unless you blanket them. It is rare one doesn't. Fat isn't healthy! As in humans; being trim and fit is far healthier for a horse than double backed, and fat. That is whast causes founder, joint problems, laminitis, etc. in horses. And every time you see a skinny horse, cow, etc. when you drive by doesn;t mean it has been starved. There are many reasons a horse or other livestock could be thin. It doesn't assume neglect. Would you charge hospitals, children etc. if their elders are thin, or don't look great all the time? A small % of people are thin, sick just like animals. It could mean fast metabolism, undiagnosed illness,teeth issues, growth spurt, old age, etc. When you see several fat animals on a farm but a couple thin ones than one can assume that horse has an issue. And not all horses gain weight back quickly but they sure can lose it quickly. So quit judging other people, mind your own business unless you are perfect and don't mind others scruitinizing you like you so freely do to others

I haven't seen all Circle H photos but the ones you've shown so far don't shock me. A thirty some years old horse is lucky to be alive let alone look great. A gangly yearling or fuzzy horse shedding that hasn't had a bath doesn't mean neglect either. You could walk into the hospital or old folks home anytime and see very thin, sick people. Why do you not think livestock have their moments too. Not necessarily neglect. I will reserve my judgement of them until and unless i see proof proving malicious intent and neglect.

In closing, i wish Circle H well and hope they get fair day in court; with proper representation; though i believe Carol has done an amazing job on Circle H's behalf so far. THey are innocent until proven guilty.
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