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More information about the Pennington Paso Fino abuse case...

Nickerson Livestock Owner Pleads Guilty

(source: Chris Berry, EPN)

Arlene Nickerson, wife of Donald Nickerson, owner of Nickerson Livestock, Bainbridge, NY, pled guilty & paid a fine for driving without the required CDL (Commercial Divers License). Mrs Nickerson was cited on Monday April 12, 1999, by the PA State Police in Lancaster County. Mrs Nickerson was transporting horses from a Lancaster County PA horse auction.

Mrs. Nickerson was also cited later the same day by New York State Police on I-81 for the same offense.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Nickerson have previously paid fines totaling $2,000.00 in New Holland Boro, Lancaster County, PA. The Nickersons were arrested on February 8, 1999 in New Holland, PA by the PA State Police. Mr. Nickerson was arrested for driving with a revoked Commercial Drivers License. Arlene Nickerson, his wife and the owner of the vehicle, was arrested for allowing him to operate the vehicle with a revoked license.

Mr. Nickerson's company, Nickerson Livestock, and drivers for Nickerson Livestock have been convicted on several counts in New York of the illegal transportation of horses. In a case in Kirkwood, NY in January of 1998 involving the use of a double deck cattle trailer used to transport horses, the Nickersons were fined $3,000.00 after trial. In Essex County, New York the fine was $1,400.00.

The company was also involved in the "Syracuse" 36 case in March 1995, which drew national attention on ESPN. The case in Syracuse also involved the use of a double deck cattle trailer.

The PA Department of Agriculture recently issued Nickerson Livestock permits to transport domestic animals in PA. Convictions in other states and PA are grounds for denial of permits, and the PA Department of Agriculture has been made aware of the prior convictions.

Last Wild Horses To Leave New Mexico Missile Range

(source: Reuters)

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., May 26 - The last 100 wild horses roaming the vast White Sands Missile Range will be rounded up on Thursday and moved to a preserve because they are running out of food, officials said on Wednesday.

Wild horses have lived in the arid and rocky ranch lands in southern New Mexico since long before the military took over the area as a missile-testing base in 1940.

Base spokesman Jim Eckles said a combination of overpopulation among the horses and competition with 3,000 African oryx, introduced years ago by New Mexico officials as an exotic game animal, mean the horses no longer can survive.

Starvation first struck in 1994, killing 120 out of a population of 1,500 horses. Since then the U.S. government and animal protection groups have sold hundreds of the survivors to private owners as pets.

The last 100 that could not be placed with new owners will be shipped to South Dakota to a 5,000-acre (2024 hectare) ranch that has been newly converted to a private preserve for wild horses, said Karen Sussman, president of the Arizona-based Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, which found the new home for the White Sands herd.

"These horses will now be allowed to live totally free and wild forever," Sussman said. Eckles added, "Virtually no horses will remain on the range after Thursday," Eckles said.

See Also...

USDA Proposes Rules for Transport of Horses to Slaughter

(source: USDA)

WASHINGTON, May 18, 1999 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing regulations to establish minimum standards to ensure the humane movement of equines to slaughtering facilities by way of commercial transportation.

"These proposed regulations fulfill our responsibility under the 1996 Farm Bill to ensure the proper care for horses without inhibiting the commercially viable transport of these animals to slaughtering facilities," said Craig A. Reed, administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a part of USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area.

The proposed regulations address food, water, and rest provided to the animals. Shippers of the horses would be required to take certain actions in loading and transporting the animals and would have to certify that the commercial transportation meets certain requirements.

In addition, the rule would prohibit the commercial transportation to slaughtering facilities of horses considered to be unfit for travel, the use of electric prods, and, within 5 years, the use of double-deck trailers.

Over the past year, APHIS funded research at Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, and University of California at Davis to ensure that the proposed regulations were based on science.

This proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the May 19 Federal Register. APHIS documents published in the Federal Register, and related information, including the names of organizations and individuals who have commented on APHIS rules, are available on the Internet.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 17. Please send an original and three copies of comments to Docket No. 98-074-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3C03, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238.

Comments may be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except holidays. Persons wishing to review comments are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate entry into the comment reading room.

Read the full proposed regulations "online" in text format Text.

See why HorseAid opposes the proposed "new" regulations, and what the USDA has done so far...

Police Horse Assaulted, Suffers Fatal Injuries

By Staci Wilson, IGHA/HorseAid

(source: HorseAid Staff)

In a personal interview with HorseAid today at 10:30 PDT (4/26/99), Lt. Major Livingston of the Criminal Division of the Salisbury Police Department stated that the reason the Salisbury Police Department was not investigating the case of the SPD Mounted Police Unit horse Danny was that the stables were located on County land, and came under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Department headed by Hunter T. Nelms.

At 2:50 pm PDT, Hunter T. Nelms, Sheriff of Wicomico County, called HorseAid to update us on the story of Danny, the 17 year old gelding that was a part of the Salisbury, MD, Police Department Mounted Patrol.

Danny was the owned by the Salisbury Police Department. As such, Sheriff Nelms stated that Danny was a "police resource" and that this case has been proceeding with that fact in mind from the very beginning. Sheriff Nelms further stated, "We always give our highest priority in cases where police resources are involved, be it a police horse, a police dog, a police officer or a deputy sheriff." He also said that he personally was "an animal lover, and very upset by this."

Sheriff Nelms said that some of the stories he had heard about and read "were absolutely ridiculous" and that at no time did anyone at the Salisbury Police Department or the Wicomico County Sheriffs Department "drag their feet" on this matter. In fact, he said just the opposite occurred: his department (with the full cooperation of the Salisbury Police Department) had given this case the highest priority.

The facts in this case are as follows (as related to HorseAid by Sheriff Nelms):

On the morning of April 11, 1999, an officer of the Salisbury Police Department Mounted Patrol unit went to the private stables were the Mounted Patrol's horses are kept (the use of the stables are donated to the SPD) to feed the horses there. He found one of the horses down; that horse was Danny (said to be the gentlest of the six horses that comprised the mounted patrol unit), with both left legs broken (compound fractures on both).

Since it was apparent that Danny was already in pretty severe shock, the officer called the vet the SPD normally uses and asked him to attend to Danny. The vet was out on another call, and it would be hours before he could attend to the horse. The decision was made to stop Danny's suffering, and Danny was put down by a gunshot to the head.

Later that day, the vet surgically removed both broken legs so they could be examined for the cause of injury. At this time nobody suspected foul play, but the vet thought it odd that Danny had sustained two broken legs, in identical fashion and that both the fore and hind leg were involved. He wanted to pursue a more thorough investigation into the cause of the fractures.

Danny was quickly buried (again, remember that no one suspected foul play).

After examining the legs, the vet arrived at the conclusion that this did not appear to be a "normal" accident, and suggested sending the legs to the New Bolton Center in Philadelphia (a high tech veterinary facility).

Detective Sutphin (one of two detectives now assigned full time to this case) accompanied the legs to New Bolton. It was the finding of the New Bolton Center pathology department that the legs were broken in a manner not consistent with an accident, and that it was most likely done "at the hands of another." At the very least, the fractures were "suspicious" in nature.

Since the crime scene was not preserved (nobody suspected foul play), Sheriff Nelms said that they have had to reconstruct the chronology of the crime scene by using the eye witnesses present at the scene, along with what physical evidence there was. In his opinion, "this was no accident."

He also stated that they have already developed a few good leads that he could not share with us at this time, but that he expected a successful conclusion to the case "soon".

It is HorseAid's opinion that everybody we have talked to on both the SPD, and WCSD, has been straightforward with us and are genuinely upset by what has happened.

HorseAid is offering a $1,000 reward for the apprehension and conviction of the perpetrators.

HorseAid will also offer to donate one of our rescued horses to the SPD for their Mounted Patrol Unit. (If you are in Maryland, and would like to donate a suitable horse, please call us.)

I want YOU 501 (c) (3) crooks!

I.R.S. Cracks Down on 501 (c) (3) & Other Charities


(source: Wall Street Journal)

Washington, April 9 -- The U.S. Internal Revenue Service will require non-profit groups to grant easier public access to detailed financial information, increasing the accountability of the groups, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The new regulations, to be published today and in force on June 8, will order universities, hospitals, publicly supported charities, labor unions and other tax-exempt groups to provide, upon request, copies of recent IRS filings containing such data as revenue and executive salaries, the newspaper reported.

The rules include stiff penalties for failure to comply and are a response to complaints that some non-profit groups have made it difficult to get the information, sometimes by forcing people to visit the offices of a group and copy the information by hand, the Journal reported.

In February, the top Republican and Democratic tax-writers in the U.S. House proposed cracking down on a tax strategy that allows taxpayers to use charitable contributions to lighten the tax burden on their estates.

Americans give $175 Billion to Charity

NEW YORK (AP) - With the economy booming, Americans gave nearly $17 billion more to charity in 1998 than they did the previous year. Americans donated $174.52 billion to charitable organizations, an increase of 10.7% over 1997, the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel's Trust for Philanthropy reported Tuesday. When adjusted for inflation, the increase was 9%, the organization said. Individuals gave 9.7% more in 1998, foundations contributed 22.9% more, and donations from corporations were up 9.3%.

Proposed Horse Slaughterhouse Defeated in Illinois

By Cindy Beauchaines, Illinois Friends of Horses

(source: Ann Marie Higgins)

The McHenry County Zoning Board of Appeals turned down Cavel International's application for a conditional use permit to establish a slaughterhouse for horses in Big Foot. There were 23 of the 24 board members present. 22 board members voted NO and 1 voted yes.

The attorney for Luc VanDamme (or Cavel International), was interviewed afterwards and said that there were definitely grounds for a lawsuit -- and that he had proved to the County that they (Cavel International) could, and did, meet the conditional uses required for such a permit. He also stated that he did not know whether Cavel International would pursue the lawsuit or not, and that he was not aware of any other sites currently being considered by Cavel.

Cindy Beauchaines of Illinois Friends of Horses said "Well, of course he doesn't want us to know where he is going next. We (Illinois Friends of Horses) have heard it might be Clinton, Wisconsin. Well, we are already on to him and have a group of people meeting this Saturday (4/24/99) to discuss our future plans to thwart Cavel's plans to expand."

Addendum by the IGHA/HorseAid staff...

Cries of protest went up when animal lovers learned that Cavel had chosen McHenry County -- home to the largest horse population in Illinois -- for its next slaughterhouse. According to Cavel, on average, the plant was expected to kill about 150 horses a week destined for human consumption.

The protest really galvanized when local horse people formed the "Illinois Friends of Horses" and organized an effective challenge to Cavel's proposal. Protesters all wore the anti-slaughter purple ribbon to show their unity in this cause.

Donna Ewing, head of the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock, Illinois was quoted (in a copyrighted article by Sarah Downey, of the Chicago Tribune), as saying "slaughterhouses are a necessary evil, a better fate for some horses than starving to death."

"It's really a dilemma," Ewing said, "but as much as it hurts me and I hate to see it, a state-of-the-art slaughterhouse could put down horses quickly without putting them through suffering."

Ewing added that if it must be done, at least do it outside of McHenry County. "I would think right on Highway 14, right out in the open, would be a travesty," she said. By all accounts, the HAHS apparently did not protest the proposal or help in its defeat. HorseAid did.

This is yet another example of what can truly be accomplished when caring horse people get personally involved in issues that affect their community and the well-being of the horses in it.

Well done Illinois Friends of Horses (you truly are)!

Late Breaking News About the HorseAid Miami County Ponies

Last of the rescued Miami County ponies now available for adoption

As of 4/30/99, there are still 31 "Miami County" HorseAid ponies (currently being SafeHoused by HorseAid KS/MO caring volunteers) left available for adoption to qualified adoptors through the HorseAid adoption programme. If you reside in the tri-state area surrounding Kansas, and would be interested in adopting one of these HorseAid ponies, please please call us.

Western Horseman

Western Horseman article on this rescue (April 1999 issue)

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