Houston Task Force Battles Equine Cruelty Crimes

Several law enforcement agencies in Houston, Texas, have joined to establish a task force specifically designed to address equine cruelty crimes in the Acres Homes neighborhood and surrounding areas. The task force will be named for a malnourished horse that was euthanized last year.

Last January, three horses were found dead on properties in Acres Homes. Necropsies on two of those horses revealed that the animals died of malnutrition. Another horse named Monty was rescued after a Houston police captain watched him collapse on a highway median strip. The horse was an estimated 250 pounds underweight and was subsequently euthanized due to his condition.

Later the same month, several other horses were removed from properties in the same location. At the time, Houston Humane Society spokeswoman Monica Schmidt said many of the horses in the area subsisted on rations of day-old bread and potatoes.

On Jan. 15, the Houston Humane Society, along with the Houston Police Department (HPD), North Division Differential Response Team Unit, Crime Stoppers of Houston, the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Harris County Constable's Office Precinct 5, and Houston PetSet, established Monty’s Task Force.

“Monty’s Task Force is dedicated to ending the abuse, neglect, and cruel treatment of horses, specifically in the Acres Homes and surrounding areas, through education, increased access to low-cost services, and enforcement of local and state laws,” Schmidt said.

Early on, Schmidt expects to see a spike in equine cruelty cases in the area. But how quickly that caseload with spike is uncertain.

“HPD’s North Division DRT Unit did a door-to-door sweep in one beat—their North Division includes about 10 different beats—and found about 400 horses,” Schmidt said. “Multiply that by 10 and you can imagine we are dealing with thousands of horses in 1 area of Houston alone. Many are cared for properly, but many more are not.”

The task force's first educational event scheduled for Jan. 30 and will include free microchipping and low-cost veterinary service.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners