Why is it still legal to keep horses in Philadelphia?
I'm not talking about Fairmont Park. I'm talking about people who think keeping horses in their postage-stamp rowhouse backyards or in dilapidated garages or abandoned houses is ok.
Another day, another case of humane agents rescuing horses from a dangerous situation. This time it was three horses - along with a dead pony - found in an illegal stable erected in several sheet metal storage sheds in North Philadephia.
Investigators with the Pennsylvania SPCA said the stable in the area of N. 11th St. in Kensington was the focus of a probe lasting several weeks. It was not the first time they responded to cruelty at that location.
Earlier this year, the PSPCA says it rescued two emaciated horses and two dead horses from the same lot. It did not say if anyone was cited in that incident.
The PSPCA says despite being ordered to cease operations, the horses remained at the stable and the owner allegedly brought in more horses.
The PSPCA says it obtained a search warrant to remove the remaining horses.
The owner of the dead pony told Fox 29-TV he was at the stable Monday night and says the pony appeared to be fine.
"I lost my pony, I got to explain that to my son, now I'm losing my horses," William Benjamin told FOX.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed on the dead pony.
The horses were brought back to the PSPCA where they will be examined and receive veterinary care before being transferred to the Danville Branch of the PSPCA or to a rescue group.
The PSPCA anticipates charging both the owner of the property and the owner of the dead horse with animal cruelty charges pending the outcome of the investigation.
Since I started writing this blog almost four years ago we've seen a number of illegal stables busted in Philadelphia, including one where an individual was keeping horses in what had been the dining room of a derelict home.
Other times horses have been found wandering the streets, like a scene out of a Dickens novel. These were the kinds of cases the PSPCA was founded to handle well over a century ago when horses were the principle means of transportation and there was little concern for their well being.
But the cases of equine cruelty today are made more difficult to prosecute because owning a horse, even if you keep it tied up to the chain link fence in your backyard appears to be perfectly legal as long as you have a permit.