The accusations on Facebook are just a nasty and false attack

To the Editor:

We were horrified to read your story concerning the accusations of animal abuse against Barbara Kennedy, who is running for the office of highway superintendent in Berne “Berne highway super candidate accused of animal abuse despite contrary evidence,” The Altamont Enterprise, Sept. 16, 2021].

These accusations are false and are undoubtedly politically or personally motivated. We have known Barbara for 30 years, during which time she has been our regular animal sitter, caring for our horses and smaller pets.

Now retired, we worked for the University at Albany, and traveled frequently for work. Barbara was the one who cared for the herd when we were away.

A few years ago, one of us was undergoing extreme cancer treatment and we were unable to manage the jobs, the animals, and the cancer treatments. We boarded our horses with Barbara. We never observed any abuse. The horses were well cared for at her farm until we could keep them at home again.

Through all the years that Barbara took care of our animals, she was responsible and competent, and humane; we never had any problems nor did we ever observe anything abusive. Barbara knows more about horse care than we do and we would confidently take her advice.

Your story describes photos taken at Barbara’s farm that are supposed to show abuse. We disagree.  Horses are inquisitive animals and sometimes get themselves into trouble, just like kids.

Like Barbara, we live on an old farm and one of our more inquisitive horses found some scraps of barbed wire (leftover from former dairy-farm use) and badly ripped her skin on one leg. The injury was meticulously stitched up by our vet and the mare sported a heavily bandaged leg for weeks. This was not abuse.

A second, equally inquisitive horse, had a disagreement with a porcupine (over an apple), and ended up with a nose full of quills. This injury is treated just like a dog with porcupine quills: You pull out the quills one by one with pliers. This is unpleasant and painful (for the horse), but hardly abuse.

The same horse experienced several abscesses over the years. We wrapped the hoof, and medications, with duct tape just like Barbara did. This is the standard care to treat the abscess and the duct tape holds the bandages in place; horses don’t follow your directions not to step in water or mud, bite at the bandages, etc.

To sum up, in 30 years of knowing Barbara Kennedy, we’ve never observed anything abusive, either at her farm or ours. If we had observed signs of abuse, we would not have continued to rely on her as a pet sitter.

Bandaged horses are not necessarily signs of abuse, but more likely signs of care. The accusations on Facebook are just a nasty and false attack. They are not true. 

Hetty Jo Brumbach

Robert Jarvenpa 


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