Colorado Department of Agriculture Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) and Colorado State University (CSU) Equine Sciences joined forces for the third time in two years to offer training for animal welfare investigators. The 2½-day course provides intensive education about equine husbandry, identification, veterinary care and nutrition.
During the March course, 30 investigators received information and training to help them make better decisions in the field and be more successful in their investigations. They were required to learn how to assess equine welfare and apply current Colorado law to real-life cases of neglect. The BAP offers the course to active law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and veterinarians twice a year in an effort to better protect animals in Colorado. The course was developed to help address gaps in knowledge and experience they were seeing during equine welfare investigations.
“Most new investigators and law enforcement personnel are knowledgeable and experienced in the care and handling of small pet animals; however, the Bureau was finding that when it came to horses and other large livestock species, many lacked the necessary experience to draw from” says Kate Anderson, BAP veterinarian. “The goal of the training is to provide as much hands-on experience with and around horses as possible.”
The participation of accomplished horsemen and experts in equine science and research at CSU are a vital part of the training.
"The CSU Equine Sciences Program is proud to be a part of these very important courses. Those who investigate equine cases are vital to the welfare of horses around the state of Colorado. We are happy to share information generated within the Equine Sciences Program with investigators and law enforcement personnel and serve as a continued resource as they conduct their important jobs," says David Denniston, associate professor, CSU Equine Sciences Program.
The course is offered at no charge to attendees thanks to the generous support of organizations such as the Animal Welfare Council and the Colorado Horse Development Authority.
“The Colorado Horse Development Authority is very pleased to be part of this important training program,” says Bill Scebbi, executive director. “The welfare and concerns of our equine population is an important part of all the programs and projects we support. The fact that law enforcement officials are willing to participate in this key training is important to the networking, understanding and education of personnel that deal with equine welfare investigations.”
The BAP also hopes to further develop the training through a Level II course which would provide advanced information on veterinary care, handling of problem animals and case preparation.
“This is a very exciting new project for BAP and we hope many more agencies will take advantage of this world-class training opportunity,” says Anderson. “For many reasons, equine neglect cases are on the rise and this is an important, proactive effort to protect Colorado’s horse industry while investigating neglect cases.”