Justice for Dozens of Horses Found Dead and Malnourished

Target: Aaron Balsamo, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Wicomico County, Maryland

Goal: Ensure the owners of the farm where dozens of horses were found dead face justice.

In Wicomico County, Maryland, more than two dozen horses were reportedly found dead and many were found malnourished in the back of a farm. Desperate, the horses had eaten the aluminum siding and fiberglass insulation on the side of the house, in addition to breaking the glass doors at the back of the house in search of food. Shocked, the county sheriff and the director of the Humane Society of Wicomico County are planning to take the horses to an undisclosed location, after having fed them hay and grain donated by local stores.

One horrible scene the sheriff recounts is a mare giving birth to a stillborn calf after it had gotten stuck in the birth canal. While the owner, Barbara Pilchard, was reportedly cooperative in helping rescue the remaining horses, she allegedly claimed that it was acceptable to let the horses decay in the fields. Authorities disagreed, asserting that infectious diseases could seep into the groundwater, which is why they are disposing of the bodies in in a lined landfill to keep groundwater safe.

Although one neighbor stated that she never saw an emaciated horse on the property before, the horses reportedly remained in the back of the farm where they were difficult to see. In addition, Pilchard was charged with 100 counts of animal neglect in 1995, when 200 cats were removed from her property. There had also been a complaint about the property about animal neglect, but there was no sufficient evidence to move the case forward.

These animals were reportedly forced to live in terrible conditions for who knows how long. They were forced to eat inedible materials because they were so desperate for food, allegedly neglected by their owners. Sign the petition below to urge the executive director of the Humane Society of Wicomico County, Maryland, to help ensure that these property owners can never keep animals again, if found guilty of neglect.


Dear Mr. Balsamo,

The atrocious scenes you witnessed at the Pilchard farm, where dozens of horses were found dead or malnourished, is unimaginable. There is no acceptable explanation for any person who cares for animals to subject them to conditions under which they are forced to eat aluminum siding and fiberglass insulation. Mares should not be neglected when they are giving birth, resulting in a tragic stillbirth. With the Humane Society, the local police department, and volunteers working together, these horses will be relocated somewhere they will be taken care of.

Clayton and Barbara Pilchard should not be able to keep animals again, if found guilty of neglect. In 1995, Barbara Pilchard was charged with 100 counts of animal neglect after 200 cats were removed from the same property. There had been a complaint against them before, but there was not enough evidence to move the case along. It is clear that the Pilchards are not fit to keep animals; they are allegedly not able to keep them safe and fed. I hope that you keep animal welfare the first priority and prevent these two criminals from inflicting harm on any other animals in the future, should they be found responsible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Robert Jones

Denounce Dog Cloning

Target: Kitty Block, Acting CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

Goal: Protect worker dogs and shelter dogs by helping to stop dog cloning.

Dog cloning is made possible by worker dogs who donate eggs and carry a litter. Those who have money and those who never want to say goodbye to their pet spend more than $50,000 to replicate their dog. The process includes a group of female dogs donating their eggs and acting as surrogate mothers. While surrogacy might be common among humans, dogs have no say when they are used for cloning purposes. They are subject to medical procedures for which they don’t sign waivers or consent forms. 

In addition to exploiting female dogs, cloning hurts countless other dogs that could be rehomed if only these canine lovers adopted instead of replicating their dogs. Instead of letting dogs move on, people who replicate their dogs choose to never say goodbye because they are privileged. In this way, they see dogs as tokens and things to be kept and collected, not as beings that should be valued for their individuality.

Instead of cloning dogs, pet owners can seek bereavement counseling and pet loss care. Cloning a dog will not replace the original pet; cloning a dog condemns animals to serve as a means to an end and condemns shelter dogs to be put to rest. Sign the petition below to urge The Humane Society of the United States to stop dog cloning and prove that it does indeed care for all animals’ welfare.


Dear Ms. Block,

Pet owners condemn many animals to medical procedures when it comes to dog cloning. Involved female dogs are harvested for their eggs and serve as surrogates for pet owners who do not want to say goodbye to their dogs. Many spend more than $50,000 when they can just respect the pet’s passing or adopt a shelter dog and possibly save a life.

We should not treat dogs as things to be kept and collected, but as beings that should be valued and respected. This statement applies to working female dogs and to dogs that pass away. Instead of dog cloning, pet owners can seek pet loss counseling and look into adopting from a shelter. As CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, you have the clout to speak out against dog cloning and endorse adopting from shelters. We cannot claim to value dogs when we subject many of them to medical procedures and treat the ones that pass away as collectibles that should be preserved. I hope that you help stop this practice and ensure that all canines are protected.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David, Flickr

Justice for 200 Birds Found in Cockfighting Raid

Target: Alan Blankenship, Associate Circuit Judge, Stone County Circuit Court, Missouri

Goal: Ensure that the criminal leading a cockfighting ring serves the maximum sentence and pays maximum fines.

More than 200 birds were rescued from a property associated with cockfighting in Missouri recently. Investigators found birds in ramshackle wire cages, with no access to food or water. Several birds were found with injuries that were in line with cockfighting; cockfighting paraphernalia such as gaffs, spurs, and drugs (to maximize injury and enhance performance, respectively) were also found on the property. The cockfighting operation was discovered during an investigation that initially involved a search warrant for narcotics. The ASPCA was contacted, and both authorities carried out the warrant.

Cockfighting causes extreme injuries to the animals. Common injuries include broken bones, punctured lungs, and pierced eyes. The gaffs and spurs found cause these injuries, and the steroids cause enhanced aggression in the birds. There is a maximum fine of $10,000 and separate sentences of up to four years in prison for possession of paraphernalia and possession of birds.

There is no excuse for condoning such a distasteful activity. Demand the criminal who forced these animals to fight and suffer terrible conditions receive the maximum penalty for each offense.


Dear Judge Blankenship,

According to several sources including the ASPCA, more than 200 birds were rescued recently from a property associated with cockfighting in Stone County, Missouri. Police were initially at the site with a search warrant for narcotics, but soon discovered paraphernalia for cockfighting. Authorities found  steroids to enhance aggression in the birds and fighting paraphernalia such as knives and daggers that would be attached to the birds at the property. In addition, birds were found in makeshift wire cages with no access to food or water. As you know, possession of birds and paraphernalia for fighting, and conducting a cockfight, have a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison each. An offender can also be fined up to $10,000.

I ask that you fine whoever led this cockfighting ring the maximum fine and sentence them to the appropriate number of years in prison. This illegal act condemns birds to inhumane conditions and makes them suffer from terrible injuries such as punctured lungs, pierced eyes, and broken bones. Whether it be dog or rooster, no animal should be forced to fight another for human entertainment. I hope that you think of the two hundred birds found at this residence; many of them have already been forced to endure atrocious conditions and serious injuries.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: JohnstonDJ