Horse Cruelty Investigation Workshop Draws Law Enforcement Personnel From Across the State

More than 30 law enforcement and animal welfare professionals from 19 counties descended upon Traverse City on February 27, 2013 for a Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare (MPAW) workshop on horse cruelty investigations. The event was hosted by Cherryland Humane Society and was coordinated by MPAW and Grand Traverse Animal Control.

“Sadly, we’ve recently seen a number of cases of horse cruelty at the Michigan Humane Society,” said Debby MacDonald, MHS Chief Cruelty Investigator. “This workshop was a great opportunity for law enforcement across the state to get together and share some ideas about how we can better investigate horse cruelty and prosecute those who commit it.”


The workshop brought together experts in horse welfare to lecture on a variety of topics, including best ways to evaluate equine health in a cruelty situation, basic understanding of equine behavior, and how to best conduct an investigation and work with prosecutors. Lecturers included MacDonald; Tom Guthrie, an equine educator with the MSU Extension; Terry MacKillop, president of the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers; and Karen Waite, an equine extension specialist with Michigan State University.

“We were really happy to see the great turnout,” said Tom Buss, Director of Environmental Health and Animal Control for Grand Traverse County. “Horse neglect and abuse isn’t just something that we hear about on TV. It happens all over the state of Michigan, and this workshop was not only helpful to us, but to our neighbors as well.”

The Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare holds a number of events every year to bring together animal welfare professionals from across Michigan, including the annual fall MPAW Conference, which attracts nationally-recognized figures in animal welfare. For more information, please visit

The Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is a private, nonprofit organization which cares for tens of thousands of animals each year, while working to end companion animal homelessness, provide the highest quality service and compassion to the animals entrusted to our care, and to be a leader in promoting humane values. For more information, visit or call 1-866-MHUMANE.


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