Horse Transportation Company Abuses Horse to Death

Elle at Hospital
Elle at Hospital

Chancellorsville, Virginia – When Elle stepped off the trailer, it was clear to everyone that she was suffering horribly.  “Elle was in shock and her heart rate was more than double what it should’ve been. She was severely dehydrated, leading us to believe she hadn’t been given nearly enough water, and she had pneumonia, likely from being unable to cough to clear debris from her lungs because her head had been tied up for so long,” owner Lindsey Decker wrote on her Facebook.  Elle’s legs were also swollen from standing in the trailer for 3 days without being unloaded or exercised.

Decker hired Nationwide Horse Transport to move Elle from her home in Ohio to her college in Virginia.  Decker rides with the UVA team at school and couldn’t wait to train and compete on Elle.  Nationwide promised when they picked Elle up on Saturday, September 5th, the trip would only take one day.  Over the weekend, Nationwide and the driver of the truck and trailer became extremely difficult to get in touch with.  When the Decker family finally talked to Nationwide, they said Elle would be delivered on Tuesday.  The delay was due to the trailer breaking down twice during the trip, leaving the horses on board suffering in the 90 degree weather.

When Elle was unloaded at The Barracks, a top quality boarding stable in Charlottsville, she was in such horrible condition she had to be taken to Blue Ridge Equine Clinic for treatment.  Decker rushed to the vet hospital, and listened as the attending veterinarians told her of Elle’s condition.  “I went and saw her as soon as I could and listened to the vets tell me about how the pneumonia was causing hemorrhaging in her lungs, about how the IV fluids were collecting in her chest wall, about how her heart rate just wouldn’t come down. I talked to her and I brushed her and I watched her lie down at the end of my visit when she was just too tired to stand anymore,” Decker posted.

By Friday, despite the veterinarians heroic efforts, Elle was doing much worse.  The bones in her hooves were rotating due to laminitis from the trip, she was bleeding from the nostrils, antibiotics were unable to get the pneumonia under control, and she was in intense, excruciating pain.  Decker knew that the right thing to do was relieve Elle’s suffering, so she directed the veterinarians to humanely euthanize her, a mere 72 hours after she stepped off Nationwide Horse Transport company’s trailer.

When the Decker family contacted Nationwide, they offered them $1,000 if they signed a non-disclosure agreement.  The $1,000 was a mere speck of the value of Elle, the costs of the transport, and the veterinarian bills.  The Decker family has been fighting for justice for Elle since September, but have met with roadblock after roadblock, and been shuffled from one law enforcement agency to another.  Decker finally posted Elle’s story on Facebook, where it has been shared over 40,000 times.  “It’s not about the money to us, it’s about making sure it doesn’t happen to horses again.”

“We did not do anything out of the ordinary. We move horses, we take care of them. They drink, they eat,” Nationwide Horse Transport owner Brenda Steele told reporters.

Elle and Lindsey Decker
Elle and Lindsey Decker
Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773

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