More Louisiana Hurricane Horses Identified

A tattoo or a microchip and some good record keeping can go a long way in reuniting horses with their owners. So says Bonnie Clark, president of the Louisiana Equine Council, who has been heading up the horse hurricane relief effort at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center equine staging facility in Gonzales, La. since Sept. 1. A rescued Thoroughbred was quickly and easily identified and linked to an owner by its Jockey Club tattoo yesterday (Oct. 12), and three other horses were claimed because of microchip identifications, although Clark is still verifying ownership on the animals.

The expo center is much quieter than it was a few weeks ago, when the property housed thousands of small animals and officials processed more than 364 rescued horses and mules. All of the dogs are relocated, and only about 64 horses remained this morning (Oct. 13) in one of the barns. Most of those horses are already claimed by their owners and are just awaiting shipment to their homes or to temporary housing.

Clark was able to get Lamar-Dixon to extend the horses' time in the barn by 10 days (until Oct. 25). She expects that three or less horses will be unidentified or unclaimed by that time. "If all goes well, I won't have any adoptions," Clark said, "Our goal is 100% (return rate), and that would be really, really nice, especially since that was the whole reason we were here.

"As of right now, I have 21 that I have chip numbers on--three of those I have claims on them, but I want to verify them," she says, adding that she's heard back from one of the microchip companies on the horses' identities and was expecting to hear from another microchip company soon. Four horses had no microchip, tattoo, or other identification methods. She thinks she might have a positive ID on one of those horses. Friends of the probable owner are following up with his family.

"The whole nation needs to microchip," Clark pleads. "They need to study the way the Jockey Club does it (identifying horses and positively linking to owners) because they do a hell of a job," referencing yesterday's positive ID on the Thoroughbred.

Allison Barca, DVM, was set to visit Lamar-Dixon today to try to identify several of the horses that might belong to her clients. Clark said of Barco, "She was the vet for the majority of the horses down there in New Orleans. She's been instrumental, as have other veterinarians, in helping reunite these horses and owners."

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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