Posted: Feb 14, 2011 4:34 PM Updated: Feb 14, 2011 5:18 PM
Reported by: Jennifer Waddell
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) The horse community is tightly knit in southern Arizona and our story of 2 rescues is proving just how close it is.
After KGUN9 first reported the January 23rd rescue of two Arabian mares, hundreds of you responded.
At the request of William Bowling, "Hoof Prints of the Heart" came to his Sahuarita property to rescue the two horses. Four people went to his home including James and Deana Boudrieau, owners of Hoof Prints. They documented their visit with photos. Bowling told us he thought he was "doing the right thing" in sending the mares to a rescue, but now he feels that was a mistake.
After the Boudrieaus took possession of the horses, they and others contacted KGUN9, concerned about their condition and what they claimed was the condition of others at Bowling's property. They shared their photos with us and also video that equine veterinarians say shows two other horses, owned by Bowling, in bad shape that had to be euthanized. That video is from 2008. Additionally, Tucson Police responded to a complaint from one of Bowling's neighbors in 2000. TPD filed 20 counts of not having adequate food or water for his horses. Bowling went to jail but the charges were later dropped.
After their visit in January to Bowling's place, James Boudrieau said, "We were just appalled at what we saw. There were half a dozen horses that looked like these two and these two were the only two they wanted to give up and just they were so near death he didn't want to spend the money to euthanize or bury them."
Bowling admits those two horses were not in good shape, but said it was because they were old and wouldn't eat or move like they should. Instead of euthanizing them which Bowling said is "emotionally draining," he sent them to Hoof Prints. Bowling maintains the other 26 horses on his property are in good shape and invited KGUN9 to see his place. We are working on that.
Meanwhile, Laura Oxley with the Arizona Department of Agriculture told KGUN9 it is investigating the situation at Bowling's property and will continue to monitor things. Oxley also said her Livestock officers do not think, "it's critical where the horses need to be removed or are in danger at this point" and "if we felt the horses were in danger we wouldn't hesitate to remove them from property."
That response from the state isn't sitting well with many in the horse community who believe more should be done. William Bowling says he is taking care of his horses and can't believe why in his words, "these people are targeting me."