The Scampering Bunny Has Left the Building


Yesterday was one of those days when I get annoyed with myself because, while I take my camera with me almost all the time when I leave home, there is always something fabulous just when I don’t have it–such as yesterday morning when I was driving 15 to football practice and a pair of wild turkeys crossed the road in front of us with their six babies. I stopped the car and they stood around posing for a moment before they took off. You know, like they were laughing at me for not having my camera.

In short order, a deer ran alongside the road and a bunny scampered across it. Butterflies were swooping around the car like I was driving through a Disney movie.

When I went back to get 15, I brought my camera. Merry woodland creatures, here I come!

We came around a bend in the country road on our way home and this was on the side of the road:

It wasn’t moving. I got out of the car, walked toward it, starting to worry. It kept just sitting there. I walked around it some, not too close, to see if it looked like it’d been hit by a car. I couldn’t tell. I was afraid to touch it. I’m scared of horses. And cows. (Which is why I bought a farm and am planning to get a horse and a cow, but that’s beside the point. I don’t always make sense.) Then the horse stood, shakily, and immediately collapsed again.

15 stuck his head out the car window and said, “I’m not picking up a horse.” He’s always prepared for me to ask him to do something ridiculous, like move a cow for Georgia.

I said, “I know we can’t pick it up. But we have to tell somebody!”

Back in the car, I stopped just up the road at a little house on a hill to check with them. They said it wasn’t theirs and they weren’t interested in talking about it.

People aren’t always friendly in the country when strangers come to the door.

I turned around, went back down the road in the other direction. Just beyond a low water crossing near the horse were two dilapidated-looking single-wide trailers with large dogs prowling around and “Keep Out” signs. We stopped and stared at the trailers.

And decided we were scared to get out of the car.

So we turned around again and went down the road a mile till I came to a house where I knew someone. We drove up to the house and the man came out. I told him about the horse and he said, “It wasn’t hit by a car. It’s sick and dying.”

Me: “But it’s on the side of the road!”

He said to leave it alone, he knew the people who had it, and it was their property. I said, “But!!! It’s a horse! It’s sick! It’s on the side of the road! Isn’t somebody supposed to do something? What if it’s suffering? We can’t just leave it there!

I went home and called the sheriff’s office to report a sick horse on the side of the road. They told me to call the animal shelter, so I called the animal shelter and reported a sick horse on the side of the road. I don’t know what happened after that. I did all I could to get help for it.

Life in the country is not always a Disney movie.


  1. Carolyn A. says:

    It’s sad when some people in the world take that “so what” attitude. You knew that horse belonged to someone, the bridle was still attached, and you tried to help by searching for the owner. Most people wouldn’t have even tried. I am truly sorry that you didn’t get any help with the situation, and that you had to see that dark side of people that sometimes shows its ugly head. You are a kind person and did all that you could. Be at peace in your heart. xxoo

  2. Kim says:

    Ugh, I hate it when things like that happen. I would be driving myself nuts about that poor horse so I totally know how you feel. I hope you can find peace about it in your mind.

  3. jane says:

    I am an huge animal rights activist. The owners should be prosecuted and sent to prison. This is a felony crime. In the country or city. Please call the animal shelter to see if they went to checkon the horse. They should find the owners and prosecute them for killing this horse. This should not be tolerated ever by anyone. If people want animals then they need to care for them. They are not toys. Horses are very expensive animals to maintain and require a lot of work. People who are ignorant of that fact dont care.

  4. jane says:

    Also the person who told you to leave it alone and forget about it can be brought up on charges as well. It never ceases to amaze me how people just dont care and dont want to get involved.

  5. Tina L says:

    I hope the horse was taken care of.

    A couple weeks ago we had a baby deer in the yard. I don’t know what happened to it’s mama but she was probably hit by a car. We live on an extremely busy road that is also a deer crossing. Anyway, I saw the deer and quickly grabbed my camera because anytime something pictureworthy happens, it is over before the camera turns on. Anyway, to make this long story shorter, the baby was injured and he walked over to a tree and collapsed. The neighbor and I called a local wild animal rescue place and they came and picked him up. We did hear the next day that he didn’t make it.

  6. Kathryn says:

    I am so sorry. What a horrid thing to happen. I do hope things are better today.

  7. wkf says:

    That’s weird. A friend of mine just told me about something like that in SC. I have horses and the economy is killing us to feed them,but if they are dying and you can’t call the vet, you can do the centuries year old method. Somebody up there has a gun. It is not ok for it to suffer.
    People Suck! no weeee for me today. Sorry ya’ll had to witness that.

  8. happyathome says:

    You did what you could. Hopefully the Animal Shelter took care of the horse. I am surprised the owners would not take care of it and at least stop the suffering, that is the cruelest part. We had a friend drop by last night who said he was stopped on the way over by a couple who hit a deer, deer was still alive and their car was damaged pretty well. they wanted to call the local state Trooper to have him put the deer down or DEP. I know neither would do that, only the local animal warden may take care of it. Tough call what to do, you just hate to see an animal suffer.

  9. Diane says:

    People are cruel. Around here if there was a sick horse along the road and the owner was found. They would be looking at some jail time or at the very least a heafty fine.

    I have a friend who if we lived closer to you. She would of hooked up her trailer and came and got it. And then nursed it back to health. Turned the owners into court promptly. Actally I am only in PA and if your animal shelter gets the word out she might be one of the people who might show up. lol. I will hear about it. It would not be the first time they went hours away to pick up sick horses, or rescuse dogs from a kill shelter.

  10. margie says:

    i’m upset that the police didn’t take care of the situation! thats one of the things they should take care of. please call the animal shelter to check on the horse. i hope its not another victim of our non depression recession.

    you did good to do the best you could with difficult people. as you found out, alot of ppl turn and run when it comes to helping animals. its not right, when a animal has been domesicated, to abandon it to the woods and expect its survival instincts to magically reappear. the ppl that do this shouldn’t be given a house plant to take care of.

    you did good.

  11. Kristen says:

    😥 This made me very sad. His eyes were looking like they were asking for help. We have 2 horses that we rescued…people buy them and don’t realize how much work and money they are. To have a vet come out and put the horse down is alot of money and they probably didn’t have any way of paying for it. It’s not right…but you never know what is going on with the family. I hope and pray he isn’t still suffering. 😥

  12. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    I am so sorry you had that happen to you. I hope you follow up with the animal shelter. Here in NC it is a crime and carries jail time to treat an animal like that. I hope someone did something about it. I also hope 14 wasn’t too traumatized by the incident. Hope today is better for all of you. Hugs to all.

  13. Kim A. says:

    What Jane wrote.

    This makes me sick. I’m a member of one the area’s animal shelter’s, all my cats are adopted, my co-worker fosters cats for the same shelter. And I grew up with ponies and horses! Had two of my own, cared for our neighbour’s.

    Please follow up, Suzanne.

    As for the horse’s “caretaker,” oh, I can think of a few things to do him/her/them. There is no excuse for this. I don’t care what is going on with the family, what their situation is. You do NOT abandon an animal to slowly suffer and die.

    My god, I’m so angry right now…my blood pressure is going through the roof….

    -Kim A.

  14. Ashley M. says:

    Is it just me or does the horse look underweight as well? Anyway, you tried, which is more than we can say for the others. It’s a crime in any state to mistreat animals, so I’d follow up with the animal shelter and make sure they did something. :sick:

  15. Suzanne McMinn says:

    To update–the horse is gone from the side of the road now, but I don’t know what happened to it. The animal shelter here is only open a few hours a day so I’ll have to wait till later to check with them, but I will.

  16. kacey says:

    Poor horse. I know animals dying is part of the circle of life, but you’d think the horse could get a better end than dying beside the road.

  17. Treasia says:

    How truly sad that is. :no:

  18. Beckynsc says:

    I am not surprised that the Sherriff’s dept. didn’t help. I needed their help a couple of times, while I still lived in Roane County and they didn’t want to get involved. I had legal paperwork and all and they still wouldn’t help.
    As for the horse, I don’t understand how someone can be so cold hearted. If they knew it was dying, they should have been right by its side till the end. I’m sure that horse gave them its best days!
    I guess the Sherriff’s dept. isn’t the only cold hearted people in Roane County! Sorry, I guess I’m a little bitter.

  19. Tresha says:

    We show horses and take every precuation neceassary to protect the health our beloved horses…and for gosh sakes the poor thing still had a halter on his face….thank you Suzanne for taking time out of your day to try to find someone to help…if the owner’s had tried just half as much as you did maybe he wouldn’t have been in this condition in the first place.

    we need a chicken post later today to make us all feel better!
    Tresh in Oklahoma

  20. Claudia W says:

    At least you DID something! OMG! I can’t believe how cold-hearted some people can be. My daighter is being forced to be away from her horse right now and everytime I talk to her, she asks if he is being well cared for. He is on a ranch she used to work at. I think because her friends at the ranch know how much she loves that horse they are taking better care of him than all the other horses there. They don’t want her pissed when she gets back!
    We take in any stays or neglected animals we can. Of course there’s a limit to what we can do, but we do our best.

  21. CrystalGB says:

    I feel so sad for that horse. It is beautiful and I hate to hear that it is sick and dying.

  22. Jen says:

    UUGGHHH!! I own a horse and this breaks my heart that someone would do that – leave it on the side of the road! I hope someone was able to get it help!

  23. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Update–the good news is that the animal shelter did try to find the horse last night. I just talked to them and they said they went out there but couldn’t find it. It wasn’t by the side of the road anymore. Since then, they have been able to find out who the horse’s owner is, so this morning they are trying to contact them to find out what happened to the horse and follow up about it. I’m so glad about that.

  24. Annie says:

    I’m so happy to read your update. Still sad for the poor horse and angry at the owners. Who knew one post could generate so many emotions!

  25. Heidi says:

    I have been around animals ALL MY LIFE and that horse looks like it has either been starved or had such a bad case of worms that its malnurished!!!! He doesnt look elderly, but at times its hard to tell. If he has/had colic there are certain things that can be done for them somtimes – not always but an attempt should be made. I know this sounds TERRILBY CRUEL so dont hate me, BUT if they cant help it a 22 bullet is NOT that expensive and at times there is NO OTHER CHOICE!!! poor thing – the owners should lay on the side of the road when they are sick and see how comfortable they are…. People like that disgust me… Sorry Sue to be so grafic and rude, but man I HATE crap like that… You are a true saint Sue for trying to help him/her. We farm and have NEVER treated an animal like that. If there is a chance it will survive, we will give it a couple of days to ‘lay around’ because sometimes they need time to recoup, but after that – they dont suffer anymore. When they are ‘laying around’ we make sure they have WATER and are as comfortable as we can possibly help them be… I hate to be the one to say it, but when a horse goes down – they rairly get up. Horses are hard to make well again when they are seriously ill. I have trained and raised horses all my life, it hurts me to see this big beautiful boy suffer like that – he is SO AFRAID!! Look at his poor face/eyes! IF he was from a loving home, they would have either put him down or made sure he stayed home….

  26. Employee No. 3699 says:

    Darn Suzanne, you must remember to bring your camera!!! I’d much rather be looking at pictures of turkies, deer, bunnies and butterflies!

    That poor horse. Please know you did all you could do.


  27. Princess THAT'S RIGHT THE ONE AND ONLY says:

    that poor horse 😥

  28. Jenn says:

    Just an FYI, most animal shelters aren’t equipped to handle livestock (cows, horses, etc.) The county Ag Dept. are equipped and trained to handle livestock neglect and abuse, which is what this situation sounds like to me. The are capable of stepping in and seizing animals if necessary.

    I hope the horse finds someone to care for it in it’s final years. There is NO excuse for a horse to look as badly as that one does, no matter how old they are. Even 30-year-old toothless horses can be fat, glossy and healthy with proper medical care and careful nutrition.

  29. annbb/TSannie says:

    That damn circle of life sucks at times.

    I hope you come back and tell us this has a happy ending. Jenn, who has commented just above me has some wonderful guiding information.

    Suzanne – maybe you found your first horse!

  30. Donna says:

    Good grief, with uncaring people like that, it makes you wonder if you told them it was a human on the side of the road, if they’d done the same thing – “they are sick, leave them alone..they’re dieing”. Sad. I hope the animal shelter came out and did something. I think you were smart to not just get out anywhere..we have alot of country around us here and once my mother an I pulled into a driveway, to just look at a new home/turn around and a pack of FEROCIOUS dogs chased us and surrounded our car – it was scarey just being in the car! I am scared of horses too – my relatives have them, but I have seen one buck wildly and kick and one kicked my uncle in the head and he was a vegetable until he died and one stepped on my sisters toe…just not a horse fan.

  31. Shimmy Mom says:

    The poor baby. People should not have animals if they are not going to take care of them. So sorry that you had a bad ending to such a “Disney” Day. You did the right thing calling in about the horse though.

  32. Diane says:

    So glad you got the Animal Shelter involved. I don’t understand why people get animals if they’re not prepared to care for them–until the very end. Makes me sick.

  33. Jean S says:

    Wow, that is very sad. Makes me sick and wish I could do something to help. I hope everything works out for the best and I’m glad you’re checking into it.

  34. Tori Lennox says:

    Poor horse. 🙁 All those non-caring people need a huge smack upside the head. Possibly with a two by four.

  35. Doris says:

    Hard to tell from the front view, but the horse does look very malnourished. It is possible it had a case of colic and got over it and walked off under it’s own power. Someone has been caring for the horse or it would not be wearing a new looking red halter. If you find out let us know.

  36. catslady says:

    How sad. We’ll be waiting to hear if they found out exactly what happened to the horse and hopefully checked it out themselves and didn’t just take someone’s word for it.

  37. Brandy says:

    This, this just breaks my heart. NO animal should be treated that way. Thank you for trying to help.

  38. Joanne says:

    I’m so glad you tried to help. I feel so bad about the situation…I am just hoping that someone did something to help the poor girl.


  39. Susan says:

    Unfortunately your story is all to common any more. We are always finding dogs and cats dropped off by people who can’t take care of them any more or just don’t want them. It makes me so angry that I’d like to string up those ignorant people! Kudos go out to you for stepping in and caring enough to contact someone that can do something. :heart:

  40. Kaye says:

    Oh, this post just breaks my heart. Why would someone just leave their animal to die?

  41. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I talked to the animal shelter again this afternoon. They told me that someone was out there now looking at the horse and talking to the owners, and that they would make sure it was taken care of. I don’t know if they will tell me anything more since they are investigating now, but I’m really pleased with the animal shelter for following up and going to see the horse for themselves. I was afraid nobody was going to pay attention. I’m not sure the horse will have a “happy” ending, but at least they will make sure it has a humane one!! (Whew.)

  42. margiesbooboo says:

    great news! thanks for keeping us posted.

  43. Heidi says:

    Thanks Sue for updating this. I have thought about it all day!! Your a great gal for loving your animals like you do!! ********BIG, HUGE, FUZZY HUGS*********** just for you!

  44. Lisa in California says:

    I agree with the commenter who said the owners should be smacked upside the head with a 2X4. It’s just cruel to leave the horse on it’s own to die. Where is people’s basic compassion. If we don’t take care of the animals, how can we take compassion on anyone/anything.

  45. Maureen says:

    So sad. I’m glad the animal shelter is doing something about it. I think if you can’t take care of animals then you shouldn’t have them.

  46. Heidi says:

    Hey – I have 2×4, a full tank of gas and a couple of days to spare. Anyone up for a road trip to see Sue. 🙂

  47. Estella says:

    In our area these people would be prosecuted for animal abuse. The penalty is a still fine and sometimes jail time.

  48. maryann says:

    I don’t know ppl can do it, tonight on NBC news they are saying about how the shelters are so overcrowded with dogs and cats that they are having to kill them at a faster rate to make room for the new ones coming in. I don’t care if I had to camp in my truck I am not giving up my dogs.

  49. Bayou Woman says:

    It was humane of you to try, but country and bayou folks are alike in the way things just have to go sometimes. I’m concerned that the owners did not have the decency to have kept the animal in its usual pasture where it could have expired naturally. Sorry to say, but that’s what happens most often—they die in the field and are buried right where they fall with someone’s big backhoe. Just as sorry as I can be. Sometimes life in the country is a very hard life. You might have to buck up a bit, yes? Feel free to delete is this is way too real of a comment. I apologize, S.

  50. catslady says:

    Thanks for letting us know, Suzanne. I’m so glad they’re actually seeing the horse for themselves.

  51. SuzieQ says:

    Usually catch you early morning but not today…Hell of a way to end my day, crying for that poor horse. I love horses and I know you would also when/if you get the chance to know one. At least the situation is being investigated. I know times are getting hard for most everyone, but my dogs (both rescued from shelter) come before me when it comes to food and care..I can stand to lose some weight anyway…Give us something to smile about Spartacus or Coco.

  52. Angela says:

    You did a really nice and courageous deed in regards to what you did for that horse. You give me hope. Thank you. :wave: .

  53. AA says:

    That is really sad. Thanks for adding the updates. At least it is good to know someone is trying. I have to say that if he did have to die by the side of he road, at least it was a beautiful place to die. We don’t have that kind of greeness here in Texas (especially since we are in a drought).

  54. Jodie says:

    Awe! You’re so nice… I would have done it too for a sick animal. No being deserves to suffer in pain or disease. Maybe it’s OK and it’s just OLD.

    Like my 18 year old dog. He’s just hanging around, retired, snoozing all day, barking some at night and waking us up. As we can’t leave him outside in the heat at night. He’ll bark more to get INSIDE in the AC. He barks all day but my stay at home hubby puts up with it, instead of picking up poop and blotting pee around the house… ’cause they don’t make doggy depends that I know of or can afford to put on his scrawny little butt.

  55. Jodie says:

    PS. On NPR yesterday I heard about these wild mountain gorillas that got executed in ??? somewhere in Africa can’t remember the country ??? but this photographer captured the locals taking it to be buried. It wasn’t poached, just shot and one pregnant female was burned. It made me wonder if it’s OK to get upset about the animals, when there is genocide and war all over the place… Africa (several wars, refugees in camps all over etc.), war in Iraq and i’m sure there are more. I don’t read the paper, listen to the NPR news or anything when news of THE WAR comes on. I was against it from the start and I have compassion fatigue for the soldiers that have died & been wounded or have PTSD or have been discharged for “pre-existing mental illness” (LOL) or whatever. I have compassion fatigue for the Iraqi’s, for the Muslims of the world who aren’t terrorists but are being harassed especially in the US. I’m just tired of it all and want it to go away. FAR FAR away.
    AM I an EVIL person… liberal of course, so in Collin Co. Texas all Democrats are somewhat evil or at least just irrelevant (usually). JZ again

  56. Remudamom says:

    That’s heartbreaking. I bet there’s also a good chance that they couldn’t feed it anymore and just turned it out to fend for itself. There have been lots of new articles about people dumping their horses in parks, thinking they can take care of themselves. As big as they are, they are delicate creatures, it’s much easier taking care of a dog/cat than a horse/cow, especially dairy cows.

  57. tracey k. in Ohio says:

    that makes me sick to my stomach! HOW do you just let a horse die on the side of the road like nothing? Isn’t there a responsibility to do something with them when they’re dying, just like anything else? That would’ve drove me nuts all day. Well, you tried to help, but were met with this :wall: Poor horsie :no:

  58. IowaCowgirl says:

    Good for you Suzanne. Unfortunately this is a very common thing in the US. Since the bill was passed that prohibits horses being sold for slaughter or for shipping overseas for meat, there is no kill market, which translates to people letting horses starve, people dumping horses, people not euthanizing them when necessary – all because it costs money they do not have. The people behind this bill have no idea about horses, livestock, and humane-ness. You came across a blatant example of the result.

    I would have done as you did –keep on keepin’ on girl!

  59. Marissa (Michigan) says:

    That is the sadest thing I’ve heard — no one even cared about a dying horse — well you did!

  60. Amy Addison says:

    Thanks for posting the update. If you find out what happens, please let us know. This is just so sad.

Add Your Thoughts