2011-02-17 / Front Page

15 malnourished horses euthanized


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Yes, he is a horse trader and

Yes, he is a horse trader and yes he is a kill buyer and yes, he knew better!

In Feb 2006 I went to Don

In Feb 2006 I went to Don Gatz head quarters ranch in Patterson because I was told he had horses for sale. What I saw when I arrived made me sick. There were 75-100 pens (approx 12x12), in every one was a horse, the feeders didn't have hay but instead they contained "fodder." Fodder consists of whatever is raked up in the orchards, in this case it was an almond orchard: twigs, molded leaves, almond husks, etc.-compost. The water troughs contained filthy water. The horses were standing in mud, urine, and manure, the pens were never cleaned. Most were frightened, but the saddest were the ones who had given up standing, their noses almost touching the muck. It was cold and raining and there were no shelters for protection. As I was walking through the rows of pens I came to the sick realization that Gatz was indeed a Killer Buyer. To be continued...

Nearby a semi truck trailer

Nearby a semi truck trailer was loaded with horses and ready to roll; I had already decided to take a horse home with me – I figured why not save one off the trailer? I found Copper a well-bred Quarter horse that had suffered a broken sesamoid (a bone in the pastern (ankle), so the owners threw him away. He was the 4th horse from the back and I unloaded him myself. His left hind was the size of a grapefruit and he was scared. A week after I got him home he came down with Strangles. The Gatz ranch is a Strangles breeding ground; the disease will stay in the ground for years unless its disinfected and Gatz doesn’t care. Horses have been used for “tripping,” been left to starve, and even slaughtered on his property for years. I have seen first hand how this “horseman” treats animals and these charges have been a long time coming, so the comments you have read are justified. Sadly, he’ll probably just get a fine and go back to “business as usual.”

How have we come to such a

How have we come to such a place in society that we judge other’s with out having all the facts? Know one has the answers as to how or why Mr. Gatz had all of these horses or if they were even all his. This is a bad situation which is being blown further out of proportion by do gooder’s and gossips who have no idea what the circumstances are. Mr. Gatz is being judged for being a horse trader which translates to most people as a negative thing. Keep in mind many of us by cars from used car dealers and go home and judge them also. Same thing! I myself a responsible horse owner have been to Mr. Gatz ranch and have traded and bought horses from him. We have horses that have been used to barrel race ranch or rope off of or just go down the trail. I have seen the horses at his place in Patterson many times and have never been upset with the conditions of the horses or facility or anywhere on his ranch. The horses and cows always have food and water .Don has been kind and fair in our dealing’s even to the point of ensuring my daughter has had saddles or a good bridle so that she could rodeo. I have no problem claiming to know Mr. Gatz and will not turn my back on someone who has been good to me. So as you are making your judgments please keep in mind you are judging someone you do not know about circumstances you only have part of the information on not the full story. Michelle Horse trader , Nurse , and friend of Don Gatz

This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with him being a Horse Trader. Are you kidding me? Maybe this is just the past catching up with him. He is such a big person in the horse and cattle industry and so well known that he has seemed to slip by with out punishment in many other situations.. hopefully this one pulls all of his true colors to the surface.

your all idiots. he'll walk

your all idiots. he'll walk out clean as a wistle.

Don Gatz has been in the

Don Gatz has been in the horse industry for decades. I wonder how his horses in Patterson are faring and if that ranch has been inspected?

Anyone with eyes could have

Anyone with eyes could have seen that these horses were starving, why didn't a neighbor, a friend or someone report him.?? As was said prior, there is a lot of expense and care that horses need...it seems to me like he just did not care, and let them starve out of pure neglect. If he had 30 horses on 700 acres where is all the grass for them? They need good hay also, grain, clean water, shelter from the weather...If he could not provide that he had no business taking them in...myself I think that is just an excuse he is making ...I think the horses were his, he needs some jail time. They are his responsibility, he failed each and everyone of them...that is a terrible way for a horse to go. He should be ashamed of himself, what he did to those horses or did not do for them is inhumane and cruel.

Thank God Mariposa county

Thank God Mariposa county finally got this guy!!! He has been doing this for years! He is a bad man and these beautiful creatures did not deserve to be treated like this. I hope he the maximum punishment!!!

If I am not mistaken, Mr.

If I am not mistaken, Mr. Gatz is KNOWN for being slightly shady...This does not surprise me at all...With this information, he should definately do some jail time to let him know that he can not do this kind of thing any longer

As a responsible horse owner

As a responsible horse owner myself, you have to properly meet the horses' nutrition/supplement needs, provide good QUALITY, clean hay and water (there's different types of hay for horses' needs, depending upon how much they are worked/what their nutritional needs are), have their teeth checked 1-2 x's a year and have them floated so that they can digest their food properly, psyllium them one week out of each month to prevent colic/impactions and clean out any sand that they may ingest while they eat, have them vaccinated once a year, worm them every 2 months (some of them have to have their manure checked by a vet to see what kind of worms they have and treat them accordingly), they have to get out and have regular exercise/grazing, and be groomed regularly to make sure there are no health or hoof problems, and have a farrier come and trim and or shoe their hooves every 6-8 weeks, CLEAN their stalls/paddocks on a daily basis. If you can find a GOOD EQUINE CHIROPRACTOR, that's a NEED as well. Equine Chiropractors work wonders and as you can imagine, horses get back problems from carrying people on their backs and from everyday rolling/laying down on the ground. This all doesn't even begin to include proper fitting tack/saddles...yes there are different sizes of trees to fit different sized backs of horses...horses can go lame from having ill fitting saddles! DO NOT tell me this guy was "taking these horses in" and rescuing them...he did them NO favors! SHAME ON HIM!!! Horses require everyday care, not just once in a while fair-weathered visits! If you can't PROPERLY care for an animal...don't get one!!

Let the real truth be known.

Let the real truth be known. Don was given thoses horses, some in much worse condition than when they where euthanized. He was feeding and taking care of them. Furthermore, in this economy, what government agency would have provided the care of 30 horses for free? From a real cowboy

If your friend Don picked up

If your friend Don picked up these horses in much worse condition than when they were euthanized, he certainly did not provide them with the necessary veterinary care nor did he feed and water them properly. I don't understand your reference to a "government agency" in the context of these neglected horses. What your friend Don did for free was collect old horses and left them to languish miserably, probably before he was able to take them to a slaughter house. Moreover, I think your friend is associated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and thus should have developed a special appreciation for these beautiful creatures. Alas, you're not a "real cowboy" as you seem to be impervious to the suffering of those animals that are entrusted into your care. Your attempt to defend these egregious acts of animal abuse and neglect by citing the economy is ludicrous and offensive to the many owners of livestock and pets that care for their animals even if it means to sacrifice some luxuries.

Real Cowboy, Come on. If he

Real Cowboy, Come on. If he were a real cowboy he wouldn't have taken more then he could care for. Doesn't sound like he was rescuing them from anything in his care. Anyone who can hurt an animal, let alone allow it to die slowly while suffering, needs some special care themselves to put it nicely.

OMG! how come no one saw

OMG! how come no one saw these poor creatures way before they got so neglected? I hope the owner gets some jail time or hard work and NOT a slap on the wrist.

This is so sad and

This is so sad and disgusting. I hope the owner gets jail time instead of a slap on the wrist! OMG, how come no one saw these poor creatures way before?

Too bad the owner couldn't

Too bad the owner couldn't euthanized along with his animals. There is no excuse for not taking care of an animal that you insist upon keeping contained.

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