Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
A Rescue in Mexico
“This horse is dying,” she said as she slowly walked the horse towards me. Its hide was stretched over the skeletonized frame with each bone protruding. Two abscesses marred his front legs weeping puss with bits of weed and grass stuck to the wounds. His oversized knee spoke of an untreated wound or possibly a break. The horse could barely walk.
Christina, an acquaintance of mine, had called out to me one morning while I was walking my dog, Boo. She explained as they drew closer. “Last year when I was here I gave this horse worm medicine; I found him like this today and I’ve spoken to the police” she explained. “Do you know who owns this horse?” I didn’t. Again she stated that the horse was going to fall down and die if something wasn’t done. That much was evident.
Christina asked for a telephone. She wanted to call someone who could help. Just then, Bruce, a neighbor, returned to his house and offered the use of his home telephone. Christina handed the horse’s leash to me and the two disappeared into the house.
As I stood on the street in Chapala, dying horse in one hand, anxious dog in the other—I watched as a man crossed the street to talk to me. He approached tentatively and removed his hat holding the brim in both hands. With his head bowed slightly he said in broken English. “Excuse me, it is no my business, but this horse cannot be like this.” I quickly explained what was going on. Shortly, another neighbor, Jay, joined us. The two men started inspecting the horse, his wounds, his teeth, and his legs. The Mexican introduced himself as Jose.
When Bruce and Christina rejoined us after the telephone call, she explained to us that in Mexico, it is against the law to rescue livestock. It is called “Interfering with Livestock.” And the penalties can be very inconvenient. However, the person they called, Gudrun Jones, has a special status with the authorities and was now on the way with a veterinarian. If the vet certified that the horse was in need of medical attention, she could take the horse without fear of legal repercussions. While this discussion was in progress, another woman came by, looked at the horse and with tears glistening in her eyes, she stuffed $200 pesos in Christina’s hand to help with medical expenses and immediately turned and left as if she could no longer bear to look upon the horse.
By this time, our little band of rescuers had given the horse food and water, and it seemed as though he would be helped. With Boo tugging anxiously on his leash, I excused myself so we could finish his morning walk. I figured that help was on the way and that everything would be fine.
The next day I was told that shortly after I left, the vet arrived armed with a bale of hay; he examined the horse and gave it a shot. He nibbled away at a carrot while the assembled cast discussed what would be done. The horse was in need of medical supervision, so it was decided the vet would take it. (The vet, Pepe Magaña, of Riberas will gladly accept any contribution towards the horse’s ongoing medical treatment.)
The future looks better for this magnificent, yet abused and neglected creature. I feel blessed that in an extremely small way, I was a part of a cast of people, a group of strangers, who came together one sunny morning to orchestrate the rescue of a helpless and dying horse on the streets of Mexico.