Systematic Abuse of Pack Horses at Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon – The Havasupai tribe is under intense scrutiny for their treatment of pack horses and mules at Havasu Falls.  The Havasu Falls is on tribal land and as such, is governed by the laws of the Havasupai tribe.  The tribal council is solely responsible for the treatment of the animals on their land.Havasupei Horse

First hand accounts, photos and videos show evidence of systematic neglect and abuse of the animals.   The animals, many of them severely emaciated with open wounds hidden by blankets and saddles, endure 20 mile round trip journeys into and out of the canyon without food or water in temperatures reaching 105 in the shade while packing heavy tourists and their luggage. Often wranglers force the horses, mules and donkeys to run up and down the trail, completely needlessly.

On May 22, 9 horses tied together in a line fell from the trail on a dangerous portion of the trail.  The horses, many of them severely injured, could not regain their footing until the trail guides cut their ropes free.  The horses that fell are owned or contracted by the Wildland Trekking company.

Havasupei Horse

Animals often used on the 20 mile round trip into and out of the canyon, tied at the top and then forced to endure the trip again without any food or water.  Tourists report being in tears at the inhumane treatment of the pack animals.  The horrific treatment ruins their vacation to one of the most beautiful places on earth.

In May, the FBI in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs served a search warrant on tribal land.  The feds seized 4 horses and charged a pack operator, Leland Joe, with animal neglect.  The investigation and arrest was the first time any tribal member has been charged with animal cruelty by the federal government.  Leland Joe plead guilty.  With the precedent of conviction for animal abuse, people are encouraged to report animal abuse observed on tribal land.

Havasupei Horse

The Stop Animal ViolencE, SAVE Foundation, has been working hard to bring awareness to the plight of the Havasu horses.   Their website says “The mission of Stop Animal ViolencE is to bring an end to the suffering and mistreatment of animals in the Havasupai region of Grand Canyon.”Havasupei Horse

A petition started by the SAVE Foundation calls for the Havasupei Tribe to develop and enforce a minimum standard of care for the animals worked in the canyon, including adequate food, water, and veterinarian care.  The petition has almost 200,000 signatures.


More Information: Havasupei Horses

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


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