Updated: Tuesday, 12 Oct 2010, 7:59 AM MDT
Published : Sunday, 10 Oct 2010, 11:09 PM MDT
SOCORRO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) - A Socorro County family discovered its pregnant horse shot in the head with three of its limbs cut off and left on the side of a busy road; a state livestock inspector said she had to do it.
The Barela family said they found the mare on Saturday on a dirt road off U.S. Highway 60. For dozens of Socorro County residents it's the only way to get to town, and that’s why the horse’s owners found it so fast.
“I wouldn't like seeing that,” Carlos Barela said.
Carlos Barela is the owner’s grandson. Barela said the family’s ranching horse was months away from delivering a colt.
The Barelas heard the mare had gotten stuck in a nearby cattle guard and that a state livestock inspector shot it and then dismembered it.
“The two back legs missing and the front hoof up here,” Barela said. “After they dragged it out of the cattle guard they dragged it around and just left it right here.”
The two back legs were cut above the joint. The front leg was severed above the hoof.
Livestock Inspector Bea Bell said she was called out just after midnight Saturday. She said it only took a few minutes for her to decide that the mare would have to be put down.
“The Palamino mare was in the cattle guard,” Bell said.
Bell said the mare's hind legs had fallen all the way through the cattle guard. The front leg was also stuck and broken.
“It was obvious it was broken,” Bell said. “It was dangling by skin and the tendon.”
Bell said the horse was struggling to get out and even banged her head on the asphalt to get free.
“It was very devastating to have to do that to an animal,” Bell said. “We could not leave her in the cattle guard because that's safety hazard for traffic. So we had to dismember her to get her out.”
Bell did not call the Barela family that night or even the next day. She finally talked to them on Sunday after we called her and told her who the mare belonged to.
“I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Barela, but it would be inhumane to let the horse sit there and suffer longer than she did,” Bell said.
“It's more inhumane just to leave her like that,” Gilbert Barela said.
“You could have called me like you do all the time,” Barela said.
“Mr. Barela I didn't know the horse was yours,” Bell said.
Bell said the horse was lying on its brand marking that night. It was clearly visible on Sunday but Bell said she could not find it in the branding book.
The Barelas thumbed through the book and found it in about 15 minutes. Bell said a piece of the brand looks a little different from the book markings.
The Barelas claim they may have been able to save the horse by using a torch or jaws-of-life to open the cattle guard.
Bell said the Socorro County sheriff’s deputies on scene that night did not have the jaws-of-life hydraulic tool carried by some fie and rescue crews.
The Barelas said they will not remove the animal because they want the livestock board to do it.
The inspector said she will not be able to contact Socorro County to see if it can dispose of it until after the holiday weekend on Tuesday.
She said she is worried about kids heading to school on Tuesday because there is a bus stop just feet from the decaying horse.
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