Minnesota Humane Group Reports Increased Equine Cases

The Animal Humane Society of St. Paul, Minn., has seen a significant increase in equine-related cases over the past two years. According to the Minnesota Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act, equines are defined as horses, ponies, mules, and burros. The Act outlines several requirements for ownership of equines. These include:

1. Food. Equines must be provided with food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or the maintenance of body weight.

2. Water. Equines must be provided with clean, potable water in sufficient quantities. Snow or ice is not an adequate water source.

3. Shelter. Equines must be provided minimum free-choice protection or constructed shelter from adverse weather conditions, including direct sun, extreme heat or cold, wind, or precipitation.

4. Space and cleanliness requirements. Constructed shelters, except for tie stalls, must provide space for the animal to roll or easily stand, lie down and turn around. Stalls must be cleaned and kept dry. Bedding must be provided in all stalls and kept reasonably clean.

5. Exercise. Equines must be provided opportunity for periodic exercise, either through free choice or a forced work program, unless exercise is restricted by a licensed veterinarian.

6. Hoof care. All equines must have their hooves properly trimmed periodically.

7. Transportation. A vehicle used to transport an equine must have a floor capable of supporting the animal's weight safely. Floors must be of nonskid construction. Sturdy partitions must be provided. Interior compartments of transporting vehicles must be of smooth construction with no protruding or sharp objects and must be ventilated. Food and water must be provided in sufficient quantities to minimize stress and maintain hydration.

More information about the Minnesota Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act can be found on an expanded article available on the U of M Extension horse Web site. Click on the “latest horse team newsletter” and select the February newsletter.

A veterinarian must report known or suspected cases of abuse, cruelty, or neglect. If you know of or suspect an animal neglect or cruelty case, please contact Animal Humane Society (AHS) at 763/489-2235, your local law enforcement agency, or an animal control facility. Your call will be kept confidential, but you might be asked to testify if charges are filed, or submit an eyewitness statement.

The correct address of where the violation is occurring is very important. For your safety, never approach someone you suspect of animal cruelty or neglect.

Further reading: "Horse Neglect: What to Do?"

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