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Anonymous tips ...and why many of them are anonymous

Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009, at 12:52 PM

This is a perfect end to the year.

Just a little while ago, I got a call from a woman claiming that some serious abuse of horses was going on out at a farm here in the county.

She told me that there was one horse lying dead in the field and others were being starved.

I asked if she had called Bedford County Animal Control or the county's agriculture extension office about this claim.

"NO! They won't do anything anyways!!!"

I asked if she had informed law enforcement about these alleged conditions.

She pretty much gave me the same answer in response, in a much more shrill tone.

The woman then began to demand I do a story on her claims, but I attempted to explain that without any charges or evidence to back it up, I couldn't write anything on it.

She then said she was going to call one of the Nashville TV stations "to get something done about this."

So, I told her I would check it out and started making some calls. Sure enough, no reports about this had been received.

Then I drove out there to see the conditions for myself.

That was the liveliest dead horse I've ever seen.

Perhaps it was a zombie equine, which has risen to feed on the hay of the living.

A fellow out on the farm explained that that particular horse likes to roll around in the mud, which is kind of hard to do if you are dead.

No starved horses either.

There was nothing to the claims at all.

Which is probably why my tipster remained anonymous.

As I said, a perfect way to end the year.

Showing comments in chronological order
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Let's hope all the victims we hear about turn out to be hale and happy as the zombie horse.

"Grainssss...must eat grainnnnssss...."

Oh well,it *might* be better to report a ravening wolf or a falling sky that doesn't pan out to keeping silent about the abused child,toxic dumping,cooked books or other wrongs that we might choose to ignore and let continue without complaint.

But erroneous or malicious tattling and gossip just make it more likely that legitimate reports will be shrugged off as specious and irrelevant.

As has been said before,we should ask ourselves "Is this true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" before we open our mouths or sharpen our pens.

But,once we have determined that something needs to be said,we should be like the prophets of old and clamor for the right to be done until folks either see the light or correct things just to get us to shut up.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Dec 31, 2009, at 12:41 PM

No doubt that there are legitimate reasons to remain anonymous when reporting abuse. Maybe its a neighbor that you don't want conflict with, or a high profile person that could exact revenge. Mostly though people should be willing to stand behind there accusations. Unwarranted accusations are easily sorted out by a visit to the farm, but can cause a lot of inconvenience to everyone involved. By giving your name and phone number you could be advised of the result of your complaint. We have had horses for many years and know that a lot of abuse happens, but not everything is always as appears. We have a pony that often "Suns" himself in all weather, for hours at a time. We have had several people drive up to tell us our pony was dead. We thank them and explain his quirkiness.

-- Posted by Equinepro on Thu, Dec 31, 2009, at 5:07 PM

To go a little off topic...great article Brian, I hope Mr. Ritch will just admit what he has done and move forward.


-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Wed, Feb 3, 2010, at 11:20 AM

I'm certainly not defending Ritch, but all of us have the right not to bear witness against ourselves. It's as relevant as any of the other rights we so enjoy like, oh maybe, the one about free speech. Let's move on folks, if he doesn't want to scew himself then he certainly has the right not to do so. If you want to keep your secrets in tact then, by all means, please don't tell us. I will defend you too.

-- Posted by Ponyboy on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 10:14 AM

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Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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