Aug 28, 2010 3:15 PM by Chris Welty
ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - So many horses are being set loose
in St. Martin Parish that the parish is setting up a shelter for
horses and other rescued livestock.
Rescued horses are currently boarded on private land around the
parish, and the shelter under way will save money, Parish President
Guy Cormier said Tuesday.
He said the parish is fencing land behind the parish Animal
Control Services building and plans to fix a barn already there to
keep rescued livestock.
Eight horses were in parish custody as of Aug. 23, and the
number has been as high as 35, said parish animal services
coordinator Monique Louvier.
Since October, she said, the parish government has taken about
65 horses into custody.
She says nine have been adopted, eight were euthanized and the
rest were auctioned.
ve `We auctioned one off at $3.93 and had to pick it up two months
later," Louvier said. "That's why now, we do adoptions."
Louvier, who majored in animal sciences and has ridden horses
since she was 8, said it takes more than a simple barn and fence to
house rescued horses.
The eight in parish custody include six stallions, which are
more difficult to control than mares and geldings.
"When a mare's in heat, the stallions will fight," she said.
"People have been killed because of that, but it's the nature of
being a stallion. We'll need to have a stallion pen with reinforced
fencing and stalls to properly keep them."
A benefit trail ride will be held at Indian Bayou on Sept. 25 to
raise money for the shelter.
Sgt. Terrell Bergeron, animal control coordinator for the St.
Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, said the federal Horse Protection
Act of 2007 is a big reason for the increase in abandoned horses.
That law barred slaughtering of horses for human consumption and
drastically reduced the market price of horses.
"You can purchase a decent horse for $50 ... $3 on some
horses," Bergeron said. "The problem is ... a lot of folks are
not educated about horses."
During his interview with The Daily Iberian at the Animal
Control building Aug. 20, Bergeron received a call about a loose
horse in St. Martinville. Friday was the third time in three weeks
the horse has gotten out of a backyard facing Church Street, he
Latoya Hector, whose 12-year-old son adopted the horse from the
parish, said someone is letting the horse out.
The St. Martinville City Council recently restricted horse
ownership within city limits, but exempted horse owners whose
neighbors don't mind having such a large animal nearby. Hector said
her son takes good care of the animal and neighbors have not
complained to her.
"This is a rescue horse and it keeps my son out of trouble,"
Hector said. "But someone doesn't want it here."
Andre Provost, who was there when Bergeron picked up the horse,
said he'd had a similar problem.
"That horse isn't opening that gate itself," Provost said.
"They let my horses out when I had them in town. That's why I
moved them out to Loreauville and Olivier."
Chris Cormier, who lives down the street from Hector, said,
"They're making a big stink in St. Martinville over horses, but I
think it's a violation of people's rights."
He said Hector's son's horse is well fed and well taken care of,
which he believes is a positive influence on the young boy's life.
"We welcome horses back here," he said. "These children have
nothing to do out here and keeping horses keeps them out of
trouble. ... This should be against the constitutional rights of
He said the City Council's revised large animal ordinance is
unfair because large animal owners who have kept their animals
inside the city limits for 10 years or more may continue but others
with animals or cattle must get approval from all of thei-DEneighbors and the council.
Bergeron said he would keep Hector's horse for 15 days to give
her a chance to secure the yard so it won't get loose again.