My name is Craig Paul and the purpose of this e-mail is to provide clarification to some of the misrepresentation of the facts concerning the seizure in April, 2011 of Canterbury Farms animals and property which I have observed on the Internet and local media. I will only speak to my personal observations and the statements here are mine alone. I do not speak for Marsha Parkinson. Not all information known to me will be provided in this e-mail and the sole purpose of this e-mail is to provide clarification for those in the breeding industry who have been following this case and have been ill served by the media and blogs who, in my belief, have provided a very one sided version of the events.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I will submit that 6 of our horses were seized from the farm. I was present during the delivery of hay on April 15th and later during the day of the second seizure. I was also present a week prior to the seizure and observed the conditions and horses during that visit. I was also present during the repleven hearing and have assisted her in the recovery of some of her horses.
I took it upon myself, although I know Marsha to be an extremely honest and forthright individual, to research what she had indicated to me. I researched the Humane Society of the United States (which I knew nothing about prior to this seizure) and the laws of Maryland (as they had seized 6 of our horses). Based on my training and experience (you are more than welcome to look me up online [google “Detective Craig Paul”] to see where that basis comes from) in the legal system, I have not spoken out until the criminal case was resolved.
During the winter of 2009-2010, Marsha had indicated that she was having difficulty finding "good" hay locally. As we had been having hay delivered from upstate New York, I was not familiar with the severe shortage of hay in the area. We are a small breeding farm, breeding since the seventies, which had recently moved to Virginia from upstate New York. I told Marsha that I would do some checking to see if I could find decent hay locally, though as it was winter and most had already been purchased. Unable to find local hay at a reasonable price, I located a hay dealer who transported excellent quality alfalfa from the Finger Lakes region of New York (this is the same "substandard hay" I have read about in the blogs as being on her farm the date of the seizure, the same hay that Dr. Forney (the vet who testified at Marsha's repleven hearing) told me was exactly what the horses needed. In my opinion, there was sufficient hay on the farm to carry her through until the pastures came back. As far as the conditions of the horses; I would submit that none of the horses (in my opinion, nor in any vet's opinion that I know of on the date of the seizure) met the state requirements for seizure. She had been given in writing an agreement that she had 30 days to make improvements. Marsha had completed 12 of the 14 items listed, yet a massive warrantless seizure took place at 13 days into the Compliance Order. This decision to seize was made by Mr. David MacGlashan, Director of Queen Anne's County Animal Control, "MacGlashan said he believed if he waited 30 days there would be more horses that couldn't be rehabilitated." (http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/17815/MD/US/)Based on that statement, Mr. MacGlashan could have simply applied for and obtained a court order, clearly the statement does not show exigency.
As far as the euthanization of several of Marsha's older mares during the initial day of seizure, my understanding is that Marsha indicated she wanted to speak to an attorney and was told by a Queen Anne's Deputy Sheriff that if she attempted to call an attorney, she would be arrested and jailed immediately. I was not present during this exchange, but I can assure you that Marsha was forced to make decisions under extreme duress and that if she had an opportunity to contact counsel, perhaps those horses would be alive today. Further, “MacGlashan had testified earlier the scoring was done by two representatives from Days End Farm Horse Rescue The original plan that day, April 29th, was to remove any horse scoring a 3 or below on the Henneke body scoring chart, he said.” (http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/17815/MD/US/). My recollection is the HSUS representative, Stacey Segal, was directing the entire seizure in lieu of a veterinarian or MacGlashen, who admitted that he knew nothing about horses.
Based on Dr. Henneke’s statement, none of the horses met the criteria of being removed and none should have been seized that day. (http://www.bkglawfirm.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/HENNEKE-REPORT.pdf.) Now I am reading in some of the blogs that Dr. Henneke must have been paid off. This disturbs me to no end, that a person as distinguished as Don Henneke would be disparaged simply for giving his expert, honest opinion when his BCS was used as the entire basis for the seizure in the first place. It is clear to me that when one chooses to speak the truth, they are attacked with vitriolic criticism as I am sure will be the response to this e-mail and my personal character. It does not bother me, those who know me know I have spent my entire adult life protecting the innocent and it is their opinions of me that matter. I will submit, this is not about me, this is about how this occurred in the first place, and a call to action to prevent it from happening again.
The rescues would have you believe that every horse seized was in dire condition. Please refer to the following link to see the condition of animals seized that they have not posted on their websites and blogs (http://www.bkglawfirm.com/2012/02/horse-photos-from-the-day-of-the-seizure-at-marsha-parkinsons-farm/)
Note: The images on the website are from the dates of seizure and the video Dr. Henneke refers to in his summation are from HSUS/QAC and the rescues which were provided as a result of discovery (Part of the pre-trial litigation process during which each party requests relevant information and documents from the other side in an attempt to "discover" pertinent facts)
We got our six horses back after 2 months of haggling with Queen Anne’s County and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and now I will speak to our six horses. Queen Anne’s County and HSUS (QAC/HSUS) initially refused to allow us access to our animals, to know where the animals were located, to have our vet examine any of the animals, and required us to retain counsel at significant cost to us before we could even examine our horses. Upon examination, we observed one of our mares with a crushed sinus, another mare with severe swelling and injury to a stifle, a mare with a lacerated cornea, and other horses with significant injuries which were caused due to the negligent handling of the rescues under the supervision of QAC/HSUS. I observed young horses driven into fences, overdriven to the point of exhaustion and collapse, and forced into stock trailers. I observed fillies and mares put untethered into stock trailers with breeding aged colts (all in the name of "saving" these animals).
I know that during the seizure, feed was removed from the farm with the accompanying statement that “she won’t need it”, fences were torn down and left laying, and other property, halters, leads, etc. taken without permission and there was complete disregard as to Marsha’s property. I was there, I saw it happen. I was told by a Queen Anne’s County Reserve Deputy that I was not to interfere and was only allowed to be inside the house with Ms. Parkinson.
I went to the websites after the seizure and saw each of these rescues begging for donations, citing ridiculous amounts to care for these animals and was outraged. It was clear at that moment that this entire seizure was agenda driven. These “rescues” thought Ms. Parkinson would be unable to provide an adequate defense and they would simply take over the horses, charge absurd restitution and force "criminal" charges as well as drive her into bankruptcy with only her property left, which could be taken with a lien for unpaid restitution. There was also a real estate agent amongst the 75 people who descended on Parkinson at the time of seizure, and she wanted to see inside the home. Then HSUS/DEFHR, after this completing this destruction, would just then move to the next breeding farm. It is apparent as I read in the blogs, that even though the charges have been dropped, Marsha should still be responsible to pay for the care of these animals; animals that should have never been seized in the first place, even when she has NO convictions. Is it really about the horses or the potential money realized in the seizure of these significant animals?
I think it an extremely prudent business decision for Marsha to accept her counsel's sage advise to accept the offer given by QAC. It gave her the opportunity to cull her herd and take back the best of her breeding to move forward without a conviction. The significant legal costs we incurred simply to "get back what was ours" would be miniscule compared to what Marsha would have paid to have ultimately prevailed only to not have anything left with which to take care of her animals.
HSUS maintains the position that horses are companion animals (http://www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/equine_protection.html) and are not livestock. This has significant legal ramifications for breeders. It is my belief HSUS saw a potential opportunity. They saw Marsha Parkinson as an “easy” target. They along with Queen Anne’s County saw an opportunity for a significant media blitz and to grab headlines. They took every opportunity to speak to the media and make statements which would have never stood in the light of a courtroom. They knowingly destroyed the excellent name of a reputable breeder, took away her livelihood for a year, destroyed her farm and stole her property. Please do not get me wrong, I am NOT anti-rescue. I am pro Constitution.
I wish to make clear that the purpose of this e-mail is to make people in the industry aware of what has occurred in the past and will continue to occur as long as we allow.
Attention breeders – you could be next!
Craig R. Paul
Dry Brook Arabians, LLC
“First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Niech spoczywa w pokoju
Candela PASB (1978 - 2011)
Frangeljka (1986 - 2011)
Fellana (1985 - 2011)
FK Fascination (1986 – 2011)
Panda VF (1985 - 2011)