Vernon Parish residents testify at federal court hearing for fate of Ft. Polk horses
Pegasus Equine Guardian Association (PEGA) called five witnesses to stand at Tuesday's hearing with the goal of proving the U.S.Army would cause irreparable harm if they continued removing Fort Polk horses.
The historical value of the horses themselves was heard along with personal accounts from a local adopter and Peason Ridge heritage family member. Rickey Robertson gives tours of Peason Ridge once a year. He said the horses are part of his families identity.
"We have one piece of history left and it pertains to my history, my culture and my history and that is those horses."
Roberston said he wants future generations to enjoy the horses like he has all of his life. "To feel their presence. There's something special about those horses and there are many places out on Peason range where those horses could be managed and kept."
PEGA feels the Army's current rate of rounding up an average of 19 horses between training rotations is tough on local rescue groups. Jennifer Pfaff fosters for the Freedom Reins Ranch and Rescue in Leesville, which has taken in 39 horses in the past two months. She's adopted three which she says were in poor condition. Pfaff added that the stress of being removed from their home can lead to health issues in the horses.
"Being in the pens causes depression. They are separated from their families from their environment. When they don't know whats going on horses suffer from depression. Depression in a horse is going to cause a horse to lose weight, they're going to stop eating, stop drinking. They basically lose their will to live and they will lay down and die there."
PEGA has 14 days to file a memorandum, then the Army has seven days to respond, so it could be about a month until the presiding Magistrate Judge renders an opinion.