Libel Law

Libel is a legal claim for false statements of fact about a person that are printed, or otherwise communicated to others. In order for the person about whom a statement is made to recover for libel, the false statement must be defamatory, meaning that it actually harms the reputation of the other person, as opposed to being merely insulting or offensive.  The statement(s) alleged to be defamatory must also be a false statement of fact. That which is name-calling, hyperbole, or, however characterized, cannot be proven true or false, cannot be the subject of a libel claim.

 If she calls about your free/cheap animal, expect that it has a good chance of going to slaughter.

 Please also see the slaughter page for known killer buyer names.  

Not such a happy horse tale Animals possibly slaughtered

Horse owners who are trapped between wanting to keep their animals but who are financially or physically unable to care for them often end up on Craigslist or other sites looking for an answer.  That is what Kelly M. Walker, 37, of Northboro says happened to her mother and her mother?s two companion horses.  Her mother Avis R. Pepin, 62, loves animals, says Ms. Walker, but when her stepfather died four years ago, her mother had a lot of trouble caring for Tess and Bear, both horses in their 20s, because of her arthritis.  ?We?ve had horses our whole lives,? Ms. Walker said. ?These were two horses my mother fostered, but she has health issues and can?t handle horses on her own anymore.?  Mrs. Pepin began searching ads on Craigslist to find a home for the horses. She responded to a posting from an ?Amy Adams? who claimed to own a 300-acre farm in Maine with her husband. In her ad, the woman said she was looking for a companion horse for her other horses.  Mrs. Pepin contacted the woman and a month later she responded.  ?I?ve done horse rescues for 12 years,? Mrs. Pepin said. ?Neither horse could be ridden. I just love horses. I wanted to let them live out the rest of their days on my farm, but my husband got sick and after he passed away in December 2007, I couldn?t care for them in winters or find anyone to help take care of them.?  The Amy Adams ad seemed too good to be true.  ?She said after she picked up the horses they were going up to Maine,? Mrs. Pepin said. ?She is a good talker, someone you trusted until later on you find out different.?  Mrs. Pepin signed a contract with the woman and surrendered Tess and Bear to her in June along with thousands of dollars worth of horse equipment and supplies and supplements she had just purchased for Tess? hoof problem.  ?I told her as long as they have a good home I was happy,? Mrs. Pepin said. ?I said if it didn?t work out they were not to be passed around, and to get back to me.?  She said the woman told her she would let Mrs. Pepin know how the horses were doing and gave her contact information before driving off with Tess and Bear in her trailer.  After several months passed, Mrs. Pepin tried to reach the woman to check on her horses and set up a visit, but the cell phone number had changed and Ms. Adams did not respond to e-mails.  Mrs. Pepin asked her daughter for help, but Ms. Walker said she couldn?t find any information on the Internet about Ms. Adams. Then, in December, they received an e-mail from a woman familiar with the operation.  The e-mail said that Ms. Adams is a horse dealer from Connecticut who picks up horses claiming they will go to her farm in Maine and then brings them to an auction in New Holland, Pa., to sell the horses. Many end up in the slaughter pipeline, she said.  ?I walked into my office and I wanted to throw up when she explained what this woman does to these animals,? Ms. Walker said.  ?We found out about others ? it was the worst feeling I?ve ever felt in my life. When she picked up my mom?s horses, she had this huge trailer and she was basically just doing her rounds, getting ready to go to Pennsylvania.?  Ms. Walker and her mother learned of Ms. Adams? website for her farm with contact information.  When they contacted her using the e-mail address listed on the site, Ms. Adams told Mrs. Pepin one of the horses was fine and the other had been euthanized.  ?She didn?t euthanize anything,? Ms. Walker said. ?If the horse was put down, it would be documented. She showed us a fake slip and wouldn?t give us information on who the vet was ? nothing. My mom wanted to die.? There are now postings on Craigslist warning people not to give their horses to Ms. Adams, whose real name is Sandy Boudreau, owner of Raven Rock Farm in Scotland, Conn.  When contacted by the Telegram & Gazette, the woman known to the horse owners as Ms. Adams acknowledged she goes by that name, and by her real name, Sandy Boudreau. She said she did take free horses posted on various websites, but only remembers one that went to auction.  ?We?re not talking about bunches of horses,? Ms. Boudreau said. ?I placed them with people looking for companion horses. I don?t know how all this stuff got circulated, to tell you the truth.?
She said people who usually post on Craigslist are at the ?bottom of the horse industry.? She usually deals with show horses on her farm, she said.  ?They have these horses that are no longer useful and no way to get rid of them any longer,? she said.
?They post them on these sites and so on and give them away to whomever, but then, in retrospect, want control of the animal once it is given away. That can?t exist. It?s the same thing if you sell a car. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of horses are no longer wanted or useful and in this economy people can?t keep them. You can go to any of these free sites and people just have no way to get out of the bind of being tied to that horse.? Ms. Boudreau said once the horse has been given to her, the owners can?t expect any more from her after that. ?First of all, I don?t want to be bothered,? she said. ?I don?t want people hounding me over something where I am basically making no money. Why bother? If they sent the horse to rescue, they wouldn?t tell them that information, so why should I? So they can go and hound somebody else? Once they gave up the horse, they gave up the horse. If they didn?t want to do that, they shouldn?t have gone onto a public site to give it up. Not one person asked to see my farm or checked me out. They could have given it to Joe Blow or anybody else and they would be hounding that person. They never should have given their horses away if they felt so strongly. They should have kept them until they die or let them spend the money to put the horse down.? She said she has another farm in Maine, but declined to give the address. Ms. Boudreau also said she remembers Mrs. Pepin, but refused to give the name and address of the person who she says has one of her horses.  She said she also views horse slaughter as part of the animal?s natural lifecycle.  ?With horses going to slaughter ? this is part of the circle of life,? Ms. Boudreau said.  ?All animals eventually get old and they die. It?s unfortunate with what happened in the U.S. and the animal rights people, PETA being the major one, legislating to get rid of slaughterhouses in the U.S. It became an issue that people aren?t sympathetic with and I understand that. Think about beef cows. Nobody gets excited about beef cows.?  Raymond T. Connors, supervisor of the Connecticut State Animal Control Division for the Department of Agriculture said there is a pending investigation of Ms. Boudreau, who uses several aliases.   ?One of our officers is working on it,? Mr. Connors said. ?It is still under investigation and we?re working with the authorities in Pennsylvania right now.?  He said they are working with other law enforcement agencies to see if there are violations under state law. Any alleged cases in Massachusetts, he added, would have to be investigated by law enforcement agencies here.  Brian C. Adams, spokesman for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the nonprofit organization has seen an increase in people surrendering their horses since the economic downtown.  The organization runs the only open-admission adoption center for farm animals and horses in New England, which means it does not turn any animals away, regardless of their condition. Adoption information may be seen at www.MSPCA.org/Nevins for the MSPCA?s Equine & Farm Animal Center at Nevins Farm in Methuen.
?Some of the horses are walking skeletons and we?ll work with them if we feel they won?t suffer from treatment to get them back up to weight,? Mr. Adams said. ?With the state of the economy and people struggling financially, additional veterinary care is just too much. We receive animals in incredibly horrible conditions.? As the number of horses being surrendered has increased, he said, so has the number of people willing to step up and adopt them. The organization urges people encountering financial hurdles to contact them right away so the animals are in better condition and they don?t have to spend months rehabilitating and recuperating them so they can be adopted.  As far as people looking on Craigslist or other sites to find their horse a good home, Mr. Adams said to use caution.  ?Craigslist is a wonderful resource in many ways to post information, but that information may not always be true and that information does not mean someone can forgo getting to know the new owner,? he said. ?If someone represents themselves on any sort of social media site, the horse owner needs to do their research ? meet the person, visit the property. They need to generally ensure that animal is going to receive the proper care that it needs. We say the same of any animal. A dog, cat, horse ? you never want to adopt an animal sight unseen or find a home for an animal where you?ve never seen the home or spoken to the person.?  A bill filed by state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, to prohibit the transfer of horses from Massachusetts for slaughter, is being considered by the Legislature.

Horses taken; deemed to be in danger

WINCHESTER ? Ten horses were removed from a Winchester property Monday after police received several complaints that the animals appeared malnourished. Winchester police executed a search warrant of the property at 74 Old Westport Road, commonly known as the Cascade Ranch, where 12 horses were kept in stables, according to a news release from the police department.
Dr. Stephen C. Major of the Chesterfield-based Green Mountain Bovine & Equine Clinic and Steven Sprowl, a field services manager for the N.H. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, inspected the horses and ruled that 10 were in imminent danger. No charges have been filed, as police continue to investigate, according to Winchester Police Chief Gary A Phillips.
The seized horses were taken to an SPCA facility in Stratham. They will be kept there until the matter is settled in court, according to the release. The owners of three of the horses say their horses were not in danger and they?ll fight to get them back. The owners of seven others say they?ve fallen on hard times and were doing the best they could to care for the horses, but had been trying to get rid of some for the last few months. Three families rent space for horses on the property. Wendy Truehart and her fiancee, Kevin Parkhurst Jr., own four horses on the property, and police seized three of them Monday. Truehart said the family only moved to the property in August and before that the animals had been kept at a 23-acre property in Winchester where they could graze on grass. The couple had six horses when they moved to the 4-acre Old Westport Road property, but sold one and another ? a 25-year-old ? had to be euthanized after it fell and injured a hip this fall, Truehart said. With little grass to graze, the remaining horses lost weight and the couple had been trying to get their weight back up by feeding them two bales of hay per day and a pound of grain each per day, Truehart said. ?I can understand that people are irritated because this property two times in a row has had people who haven?t taken care of their horses,? she said. ?But that?s not us. ?We felt guilty that our horses were the only ones being fed, and if I?d had more money I would have helped the other horses, but I can?t afford to do that.? Truehart said she plans to fight to get the horses back. Delmar and Linda Hopkins own seven of the seized horses. Delmar Hopkins said his job as a carpenter hasn?t supported that many horses for a while and for the last few months he?s been trying to find another owner for three of them. He brought two round bales of hay to the property a couple months ago and that supply recently ran out, he said. ?My animals come before I do, and that?s the way it is,? he said. ?This is one of them situations where there was nothing I could do. ?I was doing the best I could, but of all those people that complained, none of them came over and said, ?Hey, are you having trouble with feed?? Hopkins said he plans to talk with SPCA officials to try to get some of the horses back. He?ll offer others up to a good home, he said. In the days before the seizure, a Facebook group started by local concerned residents cropped up. It included photographs of the horses and descriptions of their conditions. Looking at the body condition of the horses, Major said he could tell by their U-shaped necks, hip bones sticking out and sunken-in areas around the tail head that these horses were malnourished. Major was familiar with the property; he euthanized an older horse there in the spring. It was increasingly apparent as the year progressed that the horses were in bad shape, he said. The dry weather in August hurt grass growth, which the horses had been using as a source of food, and that caused a problem for the crowded pastures, Major said. Major has worked in the area for 21 years and never participated in a seizure of horses before. He said that this is not because the conditions of mistreatment are rare, but that it is rare to have a place to hold the animals while they are found better homes. The N.H SPCA is filling this role. Phillips said that without the SPCA?s involvement, the situation would be even more difficult, because the department doesn?t have the resources to deal with large-animal seizures. ?(SPCA officials) understand the dilemma these towns are in because we?re not equipped for it,? he said. ?We don?t have the resources, but the way the state laws are written it comes back to us.? The SPCA is seeking donations for the care of the animals while they are in custody, he said. Phillips expects to see animal neglect issues increase, he said. ?I think what is going on is you?ve got the culmination of people that love these animals but can?t afford the upkeep,? he said. ?For a police officer to make the determination that an animal is in imminent danger, it?s very hard and that?s why we got a veterinarian involved. ?The goal, right now, is to make sure these animals are safe.?
 

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