Saturday, July 11, 2009

Senseless Abuse


Donations for vet bills:
First National Bank South Dakota
Wendy Halweg-Dually's Benefit Account
210 N. Lawler
PO Box 1366
Mitchell SD 57301

Update - there are people putting together fund raising activities. I'll post the links when I receive them.

I will update this as more information becomes available. Please cross-post and share with other horse people.

Horse thieves soughtInvestigation continues after horse found injured
By David Montgomery
Capital journal staff
Published/Last Modified on Wednesday, Jul 08, 2009 - 12:23:43 am CDT
FORT PIERRE — When Wendy Halweg put her horse Dually in his stall after the Fourth of July Rodeo Saturday night, the pair had just turned in a strong third-place performance in the women’s barrel racing competition.

Early the next morning, Halweg found Dually missing from his stall. She searched the rodeo grounds frantically before calling the Stanley County Sheriff’s Department. A deputy soon found Dually — but in far worse condition than Halweg had left the horse.

“He had been pretty much terrorized or tortured,” Halweg said. “He was severely rope-burned and was missing shoes.”
Dually is now recuperating at a veterinary clinic, and Halweg said there is a good chance he will never compete in rodeos again.

Stanley County Sheriff Brad Rathbun said Tuesday an investigation into the incident is underway with several suspects.

“As soon as we can figure out what’s going on, then we’ll make an arrest,” Rathbun said. “We’re hoping to wrap it up here by the end of the week.”

Sindi Jandreau, director of the Badlands Circuit for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, said the incident has sent shock waves through the rodeo community.

“In our rodeo world, nobody bothers anybody’s horses. They’re like our kids,” Jandreau said. “You just don’t mess with them. It’s kind of a cowboy code.”

Halweg said she is shocked anyone could treat a horse as roughly as Dually was treated.

“For someone to terrorize a horse — and with the shape he was in not call a vet or call the sheriff — is amazing to me,” Halweg said. “I cannot believe that anyone would leave a horse how he was left.”

According to Rathbun, a sheriff’s deputy responded around 7:30 a.m. Sunday to an address on Two Rivers Street where a horse had damaged a vehicle. The horse had been tied up at a residence on Two Rivers Street, Rathbun said, and a deputy found someone on the horse. Shortly after arriving, Rathbun said, the deputy received Halweg’s report about Dually missing from his pen.

Rathbun declined to release additional information about the case, citing a pending investigation.

Jandreau said the experience must have been traumatic for a rodeo horse.

“They are so pampered. Most rodeo contestants take extremely good care of their animals. I’m sure he just couldn’t even imagine that someone would rope him and hit him or treat him like that,” Jandreau said. “Out here, it’s a ranching community. It just blows my mind that somebody would do that in South Dakota.”

The incident has changed Halweg’s plans. She was registered for four rodeos this weekend and is in 8th place to go to the circuit finals, Halweg said. But she said she is most concerned for Dually’s well-being.

“This is as if it’s my first-born child. It’s no different,” Halweg said. “He’s pretty phenomenal.”

Jandreau said she hopes justice is done.

“Hopefully it’ll come to an end and justice will be served,” Jandreau said. “It would make the rodeo world a lot happier. There’s people who would like to handle it their own way.”

Halweg urged people who have information about the incident to contact the authorities.

“If they will do that to a horse, what is next?” Halweg said. “I’m just hoping that they catch the guilty parties and that something’s done about it.”

And here's another report

Major abuse done to rodeo horse

Jul 09, 2009 - 04:05:11 CDT
Bismarck Tribune
A barrel horse that won the recent Dickinson Roughrider Rodeo and took third at Killdeer's Fourth of July rodeo Saturday was stolen from a South Dakota rodeo grounds Sunday and abused, if not tortured.

The 12-year-old Dually remains under a veterinarian's care in South Dakota, where it was taken Sunday afternoon after its owner and the Stanley County (S.D.) sheriff were informed where it had been dropped off in a holding pen.

The horse was taken from a rodeo pen at Fort Pierre, S.D., sometime after 4:30 a.m. Sunday and discovered several hours later in a pen in town, said Sheriff Brad Rathbun.

Its owner, Wendy Halweg of Mitchell, S.D., said it isn't certain whether the prize-winning horse she says is "priceless," but valued at $75,000, will ever compete again.

Halweg competed at Killdeer and then drove to Fort Pierre for a rodeo. She said she was sleeping in a horse-trailer bunk not 50 feet away, when at least one person, and likely more, removed Dually from a secure pen.

The major abuse was to the horse's legs, which were severely rope-burned deep into the tissue and muscle, she said. The horse is wrapped in bandages and is being sedated.

Rathbun said the incident remains under investigation, and he hopes to make at least one arrest by the end of the week.

The sheriff said he doesn't know if the abuse was intentional, or the outcome of bad judgment.

He said the incident is being discussed on Internet blogs, making it difficult to separate what people really know, from what they read, as he conducts his investigation.

"It's (blogging) kind of gotten in the way," the sheriff said.

Halweg won't speculate about how her horse was so severely injured, though she expects to have her day in court.

Her friend and co-rodeo rider, Heidi Uecker of Hettinger, said what is known "is he was absolutely tortured."

Uecker said she believes after it was stolen from the pen, the horse was roped repeatedly and ridden with a wire cable around its neck. She said it was stretched with ropes to its neck and back legs, possibly between two pickups.

Uecker has started a benefit fund to help pay Dually's veterinarian bills at justicefordually@; The South Dakota Rodeo Association is offering a reward for information.

Besides the expense of driving 180 miles every day after work to see the horse, Halweg said she'll lose any rodeo income she might have earned this summer and a chance to defend her standings.

Right now, she's most concerned about a horse that's been hers all its life and one she trained to become a champion.

"I don't have any kids. I guess he's like my firstborn," she said.

She does hope for justice and consequences.

"This horse is innocent, and if they can do it to a horse, where does it go from here? If this is OK, what else is OK?" she said.


Barb Ollivier said...

Karen, thank you for posting this on your blog. It just makes me cry to read this. I have a check made out and it will go in Monday's mail. I cannot adequately express my outrage over this incident, but suffice it to say that if I EVER found the person who did this, I'd be on trial for murder, and wouldn't care if I was convicted.

Karen V said...

No words. There's just no words.

Chad said...

The Crazy M Ranch (another blog I read) has more on this...


Chad said...

OOOOPS! This is Nikki, not Chad, guess I am signed in under the wrong e-mail...go figure! LOL!!

Barry said...

for updates on dually