How You Can Help The Moira, NY Horse (Or Any Sad Animal)

Moira NY Horse in Need

Let’s repost this with hope it reaches someone who can help >This horse belongs to Frank Burgess and Brenda Waite of the Best Road in Moira NY. The state police have been alerted to the condition of their horses. Please help to keep the heat on their owners so that they are taken away. Not fair.

EDIT: These horses have been helped!  According to the comments below, the NY State Police have been informed about their situation.  It’s not entirely clear whether the horse(s) have been moved, or whether they are still at the site, but various sources strongly indicate that action is being taken.  Also, it seems that Brenda’s last name is Wattie, not Waite.  Thanks everyone!

UPDATES: the first news article, from the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

The local paper, the Daily Courier-Observer, pitches in with its own update on 8/27/13.

And the beautiful mare above is named Dreamer, and has arrived at the Adirondack Equine Center for rehab.  See some photos here!

This morning my Facebook feed turned up the above photo, with attached caption.  It exhorted me to forward the photo on, until “it reaches someone who can help”.  It occurs to me that simply sharing a photo on Facebook is not helpful to this horse in any way.  How can I help this horse?

First, some minimal research.  Like photos of lost children, photos of abused animals tend to persist indefinitely.  Long after the crisis is over, people will continue to forward the photos, trying to help without first checking to see if the animal is even still in danger.  Also, not every forwarded photo of an emaciated animal has the full story — there is no way to verify in this case that the caption matches the photo.  Maybe this animal is already under veterinary care, or this is a “before” photo “borrowed” from an unrelated animal rescue site.  Before taking action, I should check to see if someone else has seen this first.

A quick Google Search By Image for the above picture reveals no immediate matches, so next I search for the names and location in Google.  This reveals only the Facebook posting, which appears to be rather recent because there are not a lot of links.  I also try phrases like “animal control burgess waite Moira NY” and get nothing, so…okay, our initial search reveals that there’s nothing on Snopes or any large sites yet to tell me if this is real or not.  (Often, during research I’ll find local newspaper stories or police blotter postings confirming the story or filling in details.)

One link in particular (as well as the original “share” I saw on Facebook) describes the Facebook post as originating when “[poster] shared Rob Carlsen‘s photo.”  The original post may in fact be here (I looked for Rob Carlsen on Facebook)…it contains the above information and nothing else.  (It also has about 14,000 shares as of this moment…!)  It also does have at least one comment on it from someone promising to look into this, so there’s hope!

In this case I’ll assume, because I love horses, and I’d like to help this one, that this photo has some basis in reality.  Just sharing it on Facebook will only result in the propagation of the photo.  How do I help this horse, from where I am?

First, locate the proper authorities: Google will also tell me where the local humane societies, right near Best Road in Moira, NY, are.  Clicking on the individual links gives me web sites and phone numbers:

  • Potsdam Animal Shelter (315) 265-3199 potsdamhumanesociety.org
  • North Country Animal Shelter (518) 483-8079
  • Tri-Lakes Humane Society (518) 891-0017 tlhsny.webs.com
  • Massena Humane Society (315) 764-1330

The New York State Police has an office in nearby Malone as well: (518) 483-5000.  Searching for “Moira, NY horse rescue” turns up a couple of helpful links:

(I have not researched any of these sites, past looking at their web pages.  I can only assume they are legitimate organizations — either way, calling them will not hurt!)  The next step is to call or email these institutions and politely ask if they have investigated this photo.  Since it’s roaming around on Facebook, they are probably receiving 200+ calls an hour about the picture, so remember to be polite, be brief, and do not waste their time.  In the unlikely event that they don’t know about the photo yet, you’ve informed them of its existence.  If they do know, you’ll be (gently!) nudging them to fully investigate.  If I had friends in New York I would probably mention this to them as well — it is likely they know of other places one could call to try to get confirmation that this horse is, in fact, in trouble, and, if so, to get help to it.  If you have something to offer (time, money, information) you could also consider contacting the lady who answered the original post and offered to drive by.

I suspect that, very shortly, there will be news stories about this horse telling us what really happened to it — I leave the investigative reporting to the people on the ground in New York.  However, when I find out the rest of the story I’ll be sure to add it to this post, to try to close up the story of this horse so when other people find the photo and research it, they’ll be able to see whether their help is still needed or not.

Much better than just hitting “share”, don’t you think?  And not much more effort!  Good luck, anonymous horse!

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22 responses to “How You Can Help The Moira, NY Horse (Or Any Sad Animal)

  1. Thank you for your research and update I was doing the same thing when I found this..

  2. I agree with what you’re saying except that, if you post it on FB with a link to the right places to make a report, you may ultimately reach someone who can help directly so why not use that too…

    • Oh yes! And in fact after I wrote this article I shared the original horse photo to FB with the links I found above. (I’m not in NY, but I’ll bet one of my FB friends, or their friends, is!)

  3. I live down the street from these horses. I can say, this is real, and the situation is very dire for the horses.

    However, as of this morning, we cannot find them in the enclosure. I do not have any information on what may have happened. Perhaps some rescue group or law enforcement has already responded. I hope so.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that — I hope they have already been helped! If not — if you can think of anyone else we can be calling — please let me know!

      • Kim Lawrence

        If and when I hear any valid information about what has happened to the horses I will post so that you all know. I think you made a good point that these things can clog the internet even years from when the issue is current.

        Most of all, I just hope the horses have been helped.

      • Kim Lawrence

        Hello all. The NY State Police responded and opened an investigation. The horses are under veterinary care now. A big thank you to the NY State Police and all others who responded and assisted.

        And please, try to post the positive outcome to anyplace such as FB so that people don’t keep forwarding a sensational post that has been resolved already.

      • Posted to Facebook, and this blog entry has been edited to match. Thanks — and many happy thoughts for the horses!

  4. I saw and shared then re-posted from my page. Then googled it with no hits.Forwarded it to Ny rescue w/picture and also to Peta-and they would find proper help. Pray for those horses to get well soon.

  5. Kim, can you give us any information about who is supporting these horses now, and what their contact information is, so folks who would like to donate to help with their care may do so?

  6. Not sure why this is being circulated either. Nothing states the property has been checked and verified. Horse has not been identified and no update on the horse. I checked the FB page of the said person and he posted videos and pictures, I counted at least 5 horses on the property, although the property is messy, all the horses appeared in good flesh. I would hope law enforcement as well as local horse rescuers, did investigate and removed any horses that were in an emacaited condition. This too could be an angry neighbor making up stuff, One never knows.Because this poor horse was seen by many on FB over the past couple of days, I want to post the OUTCOME, which is in the comments section. So please don’t make any calls, just know that the authorities, thanks to local people who stepped in, have taken action, the horses are now with a vet and getting the care they need.

    “Kim Lawrence | August 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    Hello all. The NY State Police responded and opened an investigation. The horses are under veterinary care now. A big thank you to the NY State Police and all others who responded and assisted.

    And please, try to post the positive outcome to anyplace such as FB so that people don’t keep forwarding a sensational post that has been resolved already.”

  7. Kim Lawrence, do you know where the horses are now and the who is the Vet caring for them?

  8. I’ll try to find out the name of the vet for you. Back later, Kim

  9. Please tell me what vet has this horse ?

  10. Has anyone had any kind of update on this situation?

  11. Do you think eventually the one shown will go up for adoption?

  12. Any updates on the condition of this horse and who is caring for him?

  13. Lilly, the White horse will be surrendered to an ACO Farm in Brasher Falls NY but there are still other animals that need to be rescued. For the record, the State Police had closed the investigation with no charges being filed against the owner. There are photos to prove these horses were not in this condition when acquired by owners. Had you looked into Brenda Wattie’s Facebook page you would have seen date stamped photos of the horses at an earlier time when they were more healthy which proves these horses were neglected horrendously. Investigation expected to be re-opened due to many complaints that are now pouring in via “sworn statements”. If you check the public records, you will find a previous conviction for one of the owners for animal cruelty.

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