The disturbing abuse case that’s been rocking the equestrian world in recent days has seen the horses seized by authorities, but the case is far from over.
This update is a follow-up to Tuesday’s article about the allegations of abuse going on in Monica Thors’ Standardbred training/rescue stable in New Jersey. Since the release of that original article, the landscape of the case has changed rapidly with new information becoming available. The most important fact is that the seven horses under Thors’ care were removed from the farm by the New Jersey SPCA and a select group of local volunteers. This group also removed Billy the goat from the barn as well. According to the SPCA, the animals were removed to an undisclosed location where they would receive care and rehabilitation. According to a Facebook group STOP Monica THORS, which has been encouraging action by the SPCA for months, five horses could walk under their own power and were removed first (along with the goat) and the two remaining horses in very bad shape were removed to a different center in Maryland.
The SPCA filed charges against Thors on Tuesday, charging her with inflicting unnecessary cruelty upon a living creature and one count of failure to provide necessary care. Thors could face up to twelve months in prison or community service, as well as fine up to $2000. Many animal rights activists say this punishment is not enough due to the intense suffering of the animals, but by the book right now there’s not much else that can be done.
The two horses in critical condition were euthanized Wednesday evening. According to the STOP Monica THORS page, these horses were According to Prince, the bay horse seen hobbling out of his stall and then hanging from a sling in the video by a local news station, CBS Philly, and another horse named Aspiration. These horses were preceded by three others in the past year that died either on Thors’ farm or by euthanasia.
The CBSPhilly news station that first investigated Thors and her farm released a second video Wednesday evening:
In severe abuse cases like this, it’s easy to get passionate and emotional. However, it’s also important to understand a few key points about this case, and all abuse cases:
- For legal action to take place, it has be done correctly. And this process, unfortunately, can take time. The NJ SPCA is coming under fire from the media and social media for its apparent delay in doing anything about Thors. The SPCA captain Rick Yocum stated “These are highly complex cases you want to do correctly and sometimes that means they are not done quickly. People don’t want to hear that and it is frustrating for people and it is frustrating for us. But these cases are difficult, legally complex and they have to be done by the book.” What this means is that if evidence is not properly gathered and there is a single loose end, the entire case can be thrown out in court and the horses can return to Thors immediately. While to us it appears that the SPCA did nothing for an entire year, the reality may be very different and we can’t know most of those details. Even in cases where the solution looks very black and white to us, it may be a very different situation for the law.
- Emotions need to be kept in check. Yes, I agree–this is an extremely disturbing case, and yes, I was sick to my stomach for most of Tuesday and Wednesday thinking about it. What I did NOT do was log onto Facebook and start posting death threats to Monica Thors and tirades about the NJ SPCA. Why? Because it’s not going to help anyone. In fact, it may hinder efforts–nothing looks less professional than a caps-lock swearing rant on Facebook urging the SPCA to act faster next time. This entire situation is emotionally charged, but those emotions need to be checked at the door to keep the case moving forward.
- No matter what she’s done, Monica Thors needs help. Again, I wish with all my heart that these terrible instances of abuse never happened, and I do believe that there is a special place for animal abusers. However, I also believe that this woman has a serious mental illness and needs help. She does not deserve the threats of physical harm and death that are raining down upon her via social media. It’s a tragedy all around that this happened to these animals, but it’s equally a tragedy that this woman suffers enough for this to happen in the first place. I am not defending her actions at all, just urging a little bit of understanding and compassion. She truly believes she has not done anything wrong, and for that she shows herself to be in need of help.
If nothing else, I hope that bringing this case to international attention through Horse Nation will help increase awareness of animal abuse and help prevent another situation like this one from happening ever again.
Go hug your horse.