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Turning Horses Loose For The Winter: Cultural Preference Or Abuse?

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Curtis Bostic is a man of many titles, including attorney, politician and exonerated horse thief. He found himself in handcuffs last December when he attempted to rescue horses he determined to be abandoned and malnourished in the rugged terrain of Breathitt County, Kentucky. According to the arresting officer, the animals were owned by two local men who turn them loose to wander the area’s deserted coal fields each winter.

The practice is a long-held local custom – one that Bostic hopes to change.

The charges were soon dropped due to lack of probable cause, but Bostic’s time in jail turned out to be a godsend. As he cooled his heals in a holding cell, he began to brainstorm a way to protect the growing population of emaciated horses wandering aimlessly in the Kentucky mountains.

Then it came to him: if he owned the land, he could dictate the way it was used! Instead of a desolate dumping ground for abandoned horses, he could turn it into a sanctuary.

A few weeks later, Bostic leased the 4,000 acres and put his law knowledge to work drafting a letter to the two men who had pressed charges against him. He told them their horses were trespassing on his land, and ordered them to come get them or he would place them for adoption.

The Kentucky mountains are known for their wild horses, but according to Bostic and local animal rescue organizations, the populations are getting out of control. The disappearance of the coal industry has led to thousands of lost jobs and more horses turned loose. Many fear that there is not enough food and that winter conditions are too harsh for horses used to being kept by humans.

However, Breathitt County locals disagree that the practice is cruel and say that animal welfare crusaders simply do not understand their culture. Horses are turned out in the winter, but residents maintain there is plenty of food in the mountains to sustain them, plus many families supposedly visit on the weekends to feed them.

The Kentucky government would like to see the area’s horses become a tourist attraction as they have with the wild ponies of Assateague Island and the mustangs at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota.

JUST IN: Court documents provided by a Charleston-area attorney say the horse theft charges against him have been dropped.

Here’s what Curtis Bostic says he was doing. >> http://buff.ly/2ipiVm4

Posted by Live 5 News on Saturday, January 7, 2017

 

Mr. Bostic’s lease on the land threatens to kill these plans. He says he is not interested in tourism, he simply wants to help the animals.

What do you make of this situation? Are the horses of Breathitt County truly in need of rescue? Or is it all a case of cultural misunderstanding? Let us know in the comments!

 

H/T to US News

Featured Image via Facebook/Live 5 News

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