No horsing around: Well-Deserved Recognition For CT Rescue

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For this Connecticut rescue group, there’s no such thing as a big problem.

Since 2010, the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue (CDHR) has been saving horses from certain death. Today, the East Hampton, Connecticut-based organization has dozens of volunteers. It also has a recent commendation from the Connecticut General Assembly for its past and ongoing work.

“We went from very humble roots to what we are today,” founder Stacey Golub told the media.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

The effort began when Golub, a veterinarian, enlisted the help of some friends to save a Shire mare from a Pennsylvania auction and the slaughterhouse. Together, they scraped together enough money to transport, vet, and house her.

They also named her Cleo. And with their care, Cleo, who was initially in extremely rough shape, made an astounding recovery. Eventually, Cleo also got a new home.

And, as the Hartford Courant reports, the small, but dedicated group that saved her life “was hooked.” So in February of 2011, the CDHR officially became recognized nonprofit organization.

A place where size doesn’t matter

Although it is best known for rescuing big horses, CDHR doesn’t discriminate when it comes to helping animals in need. Since its inception, the group has also welcomed miniature horses along with goats and sheep.

Some of the animals have been neglected, and others are surrendered when their owners can no longer afford to provide suitable care. Then there are those that the group rescues from a weekly Pennsylvania auction where nearly half the horses on the block will likely end up at a slaughterhouse.

At CDHR, the first priority is the provision of healthcare, hoof care and training the horses need. Once those needs have been addressed, focus shifts to finding new homes for them.

“If we can’t do that, they stay here,” said Golub.

CDHR also encourages anyone who does adopt a horse to return it if they are unable to provide proper care for any reason, at any time.

An expensive endeavor

Even with as many as 12 volunteers per day helping to care for the horses at CDHR’s East Hampton property, costs add up quickly.

Golub estimates that the annual cost of hay alone easily tops $30,000. And then there are the expenses associated with veterinary care, special food, shoeing and related hoof care, and so on. On top of which, CDHR reportedly needs a new barn.

If you’ve got some spare change laying around and you want to contribute to a worthy cause, you  can help out by making a general donation to CDHR or a specific contribution for the barn project.

If you can’t make a donation at the moment, that’s fine, too. You can always volunteer, or even inquire about fostering or adopting a horse rescued by CDHR. You can learn more about these opportunities here.

Open house slated for May 19

If you live in the area, you can also learn about the wonderful work this group does at an open house scheduled for May 19. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at CDHR’s East Hampton property, which is located at 113 Chestnut Hill Road. For more information, you can always call the group at  860-467-6587.

Alexandra Bogdanovic is a paralegal and the owner/founder of In Brief Legal Writing Services. She is also an award-winning author and journalist whose interests include animal welfare and animal law. All opinions expressed in this forum are her own. Any information pertaining to legal matters is intended solely for general audiences and should not be regarded as legal advice.

Inmates in Connecticut prison program benefit from ‘horsing around’

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Like most little girls, I loved horses and always wanted one of my own. Unlike most little girl, I was highly allergic to them. So I didn’t start riding until I was a teenager.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Since then I’ve ridden semi-competitively (as the captain of the Manhattanville College Equestrian Team), but mostly for fun. I’ve also volunteered as a “side walker” in  therapeutic horseback riding programs for physically and emotionally challenged kids. And in all honesty, that’s what I miss the most. There’s just something about seeing a kid’s face light up while he or she is riding that’s really, really cool.

Recently, I read about a different kind of therapeutic program that benefits people and horses. This one is based at a women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut. Co-sponsored by the state Department of Agriculture, it allows the inmates to help care for horses that were confiscated during animal cruelty investigations.

“[The inmates] do everything from help feeding, cleaning out the stalls, moving them around from pen to pen,” Damian Doran, a Supervisor at the York Correctional Facility told a New Haven television station. “The animals have had hard lives, and in some ways the inmates can relate to that because they have had their own struggles, too,” he added.

The inmates learn about responsibility, learn skills they can use after they’ve been released. Most importantly, they learn (or relearn) what it’s like to care for another living creature.

The horses learn (or relearn) to trust people while waiting to be adopted.

Any way you look at it, everyone gets a second chance. And in my book, that’s pretty damned cool.

In the worst of times, animals bring out the best in us

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The stories coming out of Louisiana are heartbreaking. Epic flooding stemming from torrential rainfall reportedly claimed six lives and forced thousands from their homes.

As reported on Monday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said more than 20,000 people had been rescued across South Louisiana as of Sunday night, and more than 10,000 people were in shelters.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries provided an additional update on the number of people and animals rescued from flood-ravaged areas.

“Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents have currently rescued a total of 3,139 people and 603 animals to date due to the flooding in Louisiana,” the agency said. “Agents began search and rescue missions around 4 a.m. on Aug. 12 and have ran search and rescue missions around the clock ever since.”

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Agency spokesman Adam Einck told that the vast majority of animals rescued early on were pets.

“It does present a lot of challenges, but our agents have been trained for this,” Einck said.  “What our guys do is very heroic – they are going into these neighborhoods, the terrain is very treacherous, they work throughout the night.”

The next challenge will be reuniting animals and owners separated due to the disaster — and the Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) of Baton Rouge is already on the job.

In a message posted on its website, the CAA says it had taken in 90 animals as of Sunday night, and offers advice for people who have lost and found pets.

“Lost pet owners and finders should put the information on Lost Pets of Baton Rouge on Facebook.  Look at Visitor Posts for recent activity,” the agency’s message says. “There are also Lost Pet pages for Zachary and Central.  Learn more about reuniting pets and families on our Lost and Found Pet page.”

The CAA says it is also in desperate need of “temporary fosters” for rescued animals waiting to be reunited with their owners. Interested parties should contact or call 225 774 7701.

For more information about how to help animals affected by the flood, click here.

Cruel and unusual punishment

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As a cops and courts reporter for more than 20 years, I covered more than my share of heartbreaking stories…

There was the aftermath of 9/11 in the New York City suburbs and the accidental drowning death of a small autistic boy. There were homicides, car crashes that claimed young lives and the “war stories” about battered young veterans coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq.

But for some reason the stories that bugged me most — the ones that I remember to this day — are those that involved animal cruelty, abuse or neglect.

As someone who loves animals and as a responsible pet owner, I couldn’t — and still can’t understand why anyone would deliberately hurt or even neglect an innocent dog, cat, horse… or any other creature for that matter. But you don’t need to love, or even like animals in order to find this behavior reprehensible. All you’ve got to be is a compassionate human being.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

As someone who loves animals and as a compassionate person, I found a recent account about the confiscation of dozens of animals in Connecticut to be especially disturbing. According to a report, a complaint alerted authorities that something was amiss at the East Hampton complex back in September. Subsequent attempts to ensure the animals — including more than 30 horses — received adequate care on site reportedly yielded mixed results.

“The horses, along with two dogs, several rabbits and more than 80 chickens, were removed from the Fairy Tail Equine facility after an investigation that determined the animals were malnourished, not receiving proper veterinary care and kept in unhealthy conditions,” the Connecticut Department of Agriculture reported February 3. 

 Connecticut officials also said that the horses, which were confiscated pursuant to  a search-and-seizure warrant signed by a Superior Court judge, were transported to the department’s Second Chance large animal rehabilitation facility in Niantic. The smaller animals that were also seized have since been sent to nearby animal shelters.

 An investigation is ongoing and it is unclear whether the owners will face criminal charges.

In some cases, criminal charges aren’t warranted. Some people are simply financially or emotionally incapable of providing adequate care for their animals. Some are just irresponsible. In such cases, a simple ban on future ownership is all that’s needed.


Having said that, studies show in many cases that people who are capable of harming animals also show little regard for human life. As long as that is so, it’s essential that animal cruelty cases continue to be taken seriously and that offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.



Forget ‘Obama Care’ – get a pet

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While it is a noble goal, ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare is easier said than done. Whether the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature healthcare law, is the best – or even the only – option is strictly a matter of opinion.

On the other hand, research has determined – and nearly everyone who loves animals or has a pet agrees that pet ownership yields tremendous rewards. Over the years, well-publicized research has shown that owning companion animals – or simply interacting with them – lowers blood pressure, improves one’s mood, and reduces stress and anxiety. All of that aside, anyone who has contact with dogs, cats, and even horses, knows that simply being around them always makes a bad day better.

While dogs get most of the ink for their work as  service and therapy animals, cats are gaining recognition for their effectiveness as therapy animals, too.

As a former volunteer with two different therapeutic horseback riding programs, I can also say that the right program – and the right horse – can do wonders for children with physical, emotional and learning difficulties. Equine therapy is also said to benefit adults with similar issues, but I haven’t witnessed that myself.

Now it seems that in addition to the psychological and physical benefits associated with our interactions with domestic animals, there is a financial one, as well. In a recent opinion piece on, Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, cites a new study linking pet ownership with healthcare savings. Specifically, the study shows that pet owners make fewer trips to the doctor than those who don’t have animals, and that people who walk their dogs often are less likely to be significantly overweight than people who don’t have pets.

That’s awesome news, but to be honest it doesn’t really surprise me.

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Eli reading.

I got my first cat, Tiger, when I was 10 and had her for 17 years. After Tiger died at age 20, I got Heals (named after the former NHL goaltender Glenn Healy) and had her for 11 years. Now I’ve got Eli, who just turned 10 on New Years Day. I adopted him from the Fauquier SPCA when  I lived in Virginia and we’ve been together for almost eight years.

In addition to being In Brief Legal Writing Services official mascot, Eli is my best friend, confidant and therapist. Being the strong, silent type, he’s a great listener. He gives wonderful hugs. He doesn’t complain when I cry on his shoulder, even though he hates getting wet. He’s a great hunter. He provides unconditional love in exchange for a warm place to sleep, a clean litter box, access to our deck, and two meals per day (plus snacks). Sure he bites me every once in a while. But hey, nobody’s perfect.