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Carriage Horse Owner Admits Lying to Public
By Michael Mountain, Earth in Transition
For background information, read Carriage Horse Collapses In Salt Lake City Street, Cannot Get Up; City Considers Ban On Horse-Drawn Carriages
As the old game show used to say: Will the real carriage horse Jerry please stand up?
Unfortunately, Jerry apparently couldn't stand up, so Annette Overson, the owner of the Salt Lake City business Carriage for Hire, sent the news media a photo of a different horse, hoping they wouldn't notice the difference.
But Jeremy Beckham, a project manager for PETA, was among the passers-by who had seen Jerry collapse onto the scorching pavement of Salt Lake City on August 17th. And as they did what they could to make Jerry more comfortable, the poor horse was left lying there for several hours before his owners arrived with a forklift truck.
Days later, when pressed by the local media for details as to how Jerry was faring, Overson sent photos that purported to show him standing in a barn looking quite well.
Beckham saw through the ruse and contacted Jennifer Hack of the United States Equine Rescue League. She pointed out that the horse in Overson’s photo has a white mark, called a snip, above his lip. Photos of Jerry (left) did not.
"These markings do not change over time as they come from the color of the skin," Hack wrote to Beckham, "so a horse that is born with a snip can not suddenly not have one, and vice versa."
Overson offered the Salt Lake Tribune a tour of her facilities, but still wouldn't say where Jerry had been taken.
She said Jerry was moved after his collapse because she and her company were besieged by threats. The threats scared Overson, who opted to clamp down on information, she explained, which included removing Jerry. She said she would not reveal Jerry’s location because she did not want his caretakers subjected to threats or potential violence.
It would, of course, have been easy enough for her to take a member of the press to see Jerry on the understanding that his whereabouts not be revealed. But in a different statement she'd already said she was "sick of seeing my horses laying down and so I sent a picture of a horse standing up."
Overson said a veterinarian had diagnosed Jerry as having collapsed because he had colic. But there's no confirmation of that. She said that animal activists want to end carriage rides in Salt Lake City and are more motivated by that agenda than the facts.
It's certainly true that animal protection groups are motivated by that agenda. And the facts, including the fact of Ms. Overson's cover-up, would appear to only increase the urgency of that agenda.
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