Margaret C. Malone
To the Editor:
“Evil prevails when good men do nothing” said Edmund Burke. It bears repeating. Cruelty, whether to humans or animals, is tragic and evil. According to articles in papers, David Schmucker of LaGrange was arrested and formally charged with four counts of cruelty to an animal and one count for failure to dispose of a dead animal.
This was the second time in six years that David Schmucker has been arrested on charges involving dead animals. Apparently an Indiana Board of Animal Health investigator began an investigation of Schmucker last month after people complained about the poor condition of his animals.
The article said that on the investigator’s first trip to the farm, he found one dead horse in the barn. Other horses under Schmucker’s care were described as being in “very bad physical shape.” It was concluded that the dead animal had died of starvation. To starve an animal to death is the epitome of cruelty.
Investigators gave Schmucker 24 hours to dispose of the dead horse but when the investigator returned to the house three days later, the dead horse still had not been disposed of and in that time two more horses had died. Five days later, a fourth horse was discovered dead and there was no feed or water for the remaining horses.
Fortunately, the two remaining horses and two ponies that were in poor health due to extensive, long-term starvation were ordered removed and placed in foster care. I wonder why the horses were not all removed when the first dead horse was discovered and it was noted that the rest were starving?
What should we do when we observe cruelty to animals or humans – especially in our own neighborhoods? The people who observed what was happening and reported it did the right thing. They are to be commended. Are we all that responsible?
If Mr. Schmucker is found guilty of the charges that have been levied against him, hopefully the people who are trusted to see that justice is done in cases like this will see that he is never allowed to have another warm-blooded animal in his possession. A bicycle or paid transportation might be options for him – but not a horse or anything else that could be mistreated.