Friday, January 29, 2010

...the Vet has determined Toxic Poisoning....

This 'blog' is a mixture of things: more of the pictures I took of 3 Strikes Ranch, and comments and thoughts of being accused of poisoning the horses. One look at the land, I think everyone knows what happened to the horses. People who later became my friends, began to tell me of the lies Jason told them. Everything from feeding our cows against the fence line in order to poison his horses; to telling them we didn't have horses, hated horses, and that's why we wanted him gone.

This is the south side of 3 Strikes Ranch. I'm zoomed in with my camera, but you can see it's still pretty close to his buildings. While I was on the 4 wheeler taking all the pictures, someone came out of the trailer, looked my way. I found myself feeling a little intimidated, nervous, and I think my heart was beating a little more rapidly. But my anger for what was happening to the land and the horses prevailed, and I continued taking pictures.

One thing to note: Time Frame. I was seen taking these pictures February 10th , and March 3rd thru March 7th. BLM authorities (other than the one in his hip pocket), State authorities and others received the picture book of 3 Strikes land, around March 17th thru the 21st. Suddenly, the Deputy Sheriff is at our door March 28th, reporting Meduna's claim that Justin stole Rayu. Jason saw me taking pictures March 6th, suddenly he's on the board, 2nd week in March, saying they had to bring the horses in because the neighbors were poisoning them.

Think I'll save my money and not hire a private investigator to figure that one out.


This is what Jason TOLD everybody on the 'horse forums'. As I've said, up until someone emailed me a link to ABR - (that was the first one I read on); I had no idea anything like this even existed. So here's what I read:

'Jason and Anissa M. of 3 Strikes need help with some mustangs that have come down with some kind of (what the vet has thus far determined to be) toxic poisoning.'

'What on earth is this about?!!' was most likely my first thought, close second would be something like, 'That big fat liar.' So I figure now is as good a time as any to continue with land pictures... I'm thinking it's NOT poisoning, just as the vet ACTUALLY thought also. The vet did not say he figured it was toxic poisoning, that is what Jason lied to everyone (one of the lies he told).

The pictures continue on, clockwise around the perimeter of Meduna's land. These are other neighbors that border him.

In the following picture, the foreground is the neighbor's land to the south of Meduna's. The dark spot and circle you notice by the fence; it was a horse that died there. One of Meduna's, on the opposite side of 3 Strikes Ranch property.

This is horse hair, and the neighbors did not lose a horse. It was one from 3 Strikes Ranch. The wires were broken, someone must have stood the post up along the fence...maybe a neighbor to get Jason's attention? I would say this horse struggled, horrendously. Either from being too weak to get up, or did he get caught in the wire, trying to get to food on the other side, and couldn't get free? Jason's land is on the right of the fence.

Besides some hair, this is the only remains I could find of the horse.


'All of the horses affected by this are up against a fence line that boarders another ranch. No other horses are affected or ever go into that horses have access to that area right now.' (March 15, 2009)

That other ranch, being the Freibergers.... and I'm reading this from the Internet with my mouth dropped open and my eyes in permanent frown mode!


(This is southeast of Jason's buildings. The left lower corner is another neighbor's land, the meadow-if you can call it that, is Meduna's. Notice wires down, and the grass eaten on the neighbor's side. I'm pretty sure these horses were just simply looking for something to eat.)

And then of course, there was the asking for donations for the help with their toxic poisoned horses. HA. If it weren't for the horrible outcome of the horses, and the intentional destruction this would almost be funny.

The right side was owned by Meduna. It is meadow ground. The sad thing is, it is also a salt grass, that usually gets left by animals. The brown looking grass toward the middle of the picture are bull rushes. We put up rushes during haying season for bedding roads and blow-outs! Why? Because the cattle AND horses DO NOT EAT them. They ate at much as they could reach of the neighbors' ground across the fence also.

The corker here is, Jason told certain people all this stuff to post, but they unfortunately, had no idea at the start of this, that he was lying to them.

(The middle fence is part of 3 Strikes. The trees in the far right, are where I found a dead horse. The buildings in the far left, was Meduna's.)

So most of what you read, is what Jason told them to say. I don't blame them - in fact, they are good friends now; they were just victims of the sickness of a couple people.

Then there was talk on the board about cattle feed that could kill a horse instantly. So here I am reading all this, in total shock; and keep in is Anissa and Jason. And they know what is going on. Then it's stated that they are tick infested. But why, Jason said, 'along the stretch of land the horses hang out is a cedar tree wind break on the neighbor's cattle ranch.' Now I'm reading this thinking, funny....our cows, horses or dogs don't have ticks. Why are our ticks just hi-tailing it to Meduna's and jumping on his horses? Especially when our trees are not close to Meduna's land. LIES LIES LIES. It was starting to drive me crazy, all the reading and comments about our family. My dear like-a-'little'-brother friend kept telling me to be careful and not let it get to me.

'He has brought that ranch from nothing to something ...has spent the past couple years cleaning it up' ....I, personally, have a bit of a different outlook on that.

'With wind blowing out there, it could have blown anything in.' Our land didn't blow. Jason even bragged of sandstorms on his ranch! Now I'm sorry, but how stupid is that? The last thing all of us would do is brag about how our land was blowing like in Hidago. That is exactly what he did. The difference is, all of his neighbors had ground cover, his land was the only land moving like the sand storms in the movie Hidalgo. Those poor horses. They were sand blown in the corrals also. When a horse is standing by a windbreak, in a sand storm, it just circles around and gets caught in the updrafts, believe me, they were not out of the weather.

"if neighboring ranch is using mineral....can be picked up by the wind and dispersed huge distances" NO, NO, NO. When you have a total of 25 lb. of mineral, mixed with 25 lb. of salt - (which by the way, the mineral contains NOTHING that could hurt a horse, BECAUSE OUR HORSES HAVE ACCESS TO IT ALSO!) and that 50 lb of salt and mineral is in a plastic tub, that only fills it to half full, and is located NO WHERE close to Meduna's land that the wind could pick up and carry that far - no way, no how.

It was posted on ABR, that the vet told Anissa he thought they may be able to help 'Blue' and that he wouldn't give up on the little foal. In court, Meduna testified differently. So the board is raising funds for Meduna for 3 horses that are 'sick' from poisoning, and they need tests. As of March 16, there are now $675.00 raised for this. There is little 'Blue', fighting for his life at the vets, and another horse that is sick at the ranch, 'that as the same thing the other foal has.' No one would ever dream they aren't being fed!

On March 17, it was stated that 'Jason is busy trying to get the ducks in a row for the rest of the horses (5 total) that are being affected by this.' .....Now I'm reading this, wondering what about all the dead ones I've seen while taking pictures??????

March 18, Anissa sends a message thru someone on the board (ABR) that 'Blue' is still hanging in there, fighting and struggling to stand on his own.' The board is still raising funds to figure out what's wrong.

March 19, Jason sends a message thru someone on ABR... 'there's concern with possible intentional feeding of cattle feed to some of the horses....the fence line band of horses are the ones affected - next to the cattle ranch.'

And if that's not enough, later they post on the board that little Blue died. Now they are going to ask money for necropsy tests to be done on the dead colt. BUT.......
he's not dead! I'm thinking there's a law against that..... raising money for a dead horse to be tested, that is not dead.

The last two pictures are of horses that were kept up by the house.

I hope they survived. Did they survive?

I have now covered the entire east side (perimeter), north to south. There's the west side left. No, it doesn't improve.......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poisoning? Or just nothing to eat...

I had to check my calendar again. When was it that we looked across the fence and noticed the level soapweed plants? Soapweed yucca, (Yucca Glauca Nutt.) a perennial that has early spring blooms on a strong stem in the center of the long, narrow sharp leaves the reach upward 12"-24". After the blooms do their thing, the plant produces a 'pod'. The pod averages 3" in length and I suppose about 1-2" diameter, that's while it's still green. That's when it's candy. At least that is what our cows think. If we move cattle into a pasture that has all the green pods still on the stems, they will cover practically the entire pasture, just eating off the pods. Then they go back to grazing. Of course, if the cattle didn't have a chance to get into a pasture with pods that have now opened up and turned brown, they're just something I pick for decoration. When the pods are no longer green, the texture is that of wood, and the stem is now like a thick twig. Nothing eats it. This is actually leading up to something.....

May 9, 2008; a friend of mine came out from town. Our mission was to look at the land of 3 Strikes Ranch. It was during a nice day, and the snow had melted. Our curiosity was to see the condition of the land after the snowfall we'd had, and to see if there was any grass left, or hay being fed. Looking out over the hills, there wasn't an abundance of vegetation. The moisture was much needed, hopefully we were getting enough for these hills to heal up and keep producing.

One thing we noticed: when you looked out across the hills at the soapweed plants, it looked like someone had just come along with a measuring stick and evenly cut the plant to the same level, like you were trimming hedges. There were no 'sticks' coming out of the plant; the stem was gone. Our thought, "Oh my gosh, they ate whatever they could find sticking out of the snow. They had no feed." I am sure that is exactly what all of those horses did. We had never noticed hay being fed in the pastures. So those poor animals, during the snow storms, ate the stems and sharp-edged leaves of the soapweed plants as far as they could. As I'm writing this, I remember talking to someone that was there, of all the cuts and scabs by the eyes and on the face. Have you ever grabbed a soapweed plant, or yucca plant, with your bare hands? Those horses were probably trying to eat them for nourishment, and in the process they cut their face.

So that leads us to the land. Soon after I took pictures of the land, and sent them off to whoever I could think to send them; Jason Meduna claimed 'the neighbors' which would be my family, was poisoning the horses with cattle feed. So, I'll take you on a journey around the perimeter of his ranch. You decide. Does it look like the horses had enough to eat? I only wish we could have fed them.

To get to Jason's entrance, you had to drive through our land, which is where I am taking the picture. the 'Kids Pasture'. The following land pictures were taken in February and March of 2009.

This is the entrance to what was, 3 Strikes Ranch. Of course, when I refer '3 Strikes' or 'Meduna's land', happily it no longer is. The Kooper Ranch now belongs to the Greens. The picture journey will start here, and continue clockwise, covering the perimeter of the Meduna property. I saddled up my 4 wheeler, made sure I had extra batteries for my camera...and was off.

Jason's meadow ground is what you see here. There stands a few horses. I have another picture of this meadow with 1 horse carcass, and 1 live horse. That picture is being saved for that distant possibility of a book. This meadow joins ours to the north, and is east of Jason's house.

On the right side of the fence, is Meduna land. Notice that bare patch of land on the left? It is not too hard to see that posts are leaning to that side; they leaned over to eat the grass, thus causing erosion to start on our property also. The kids had just fixed this fence in January, and now, February 10, were fixing it again. Most of the posts in this line of fence were broken.

How sad for the horses. As I looked out across the hills on the 3 Strikes side, it looks bare as far as the eye can see. I visited a desert in Arizona once, this is pretty close to that memory. I imagine they do not show up on the above picture, but when I zoom in; there are horses in the background, horses that made it....or did not. The lake on the left belongs to Gilroys.

You know, I'm pretty sure I don't need to write anything to explain these pictures. Just imagine though, checking our own cattle and looking across the fence at this. And he accused us of poisoning his horses...

My heart sank when the kids called me on our business band radio, "Mom, you there? Grab your camera and come over by where we're fencing. There's another dead horse."

There are three different land owners in this picture. Our land is the bottom left corner, Gilroy's land is the top left corner, and Meduna's ground is the right side of the fence. The typical leaning posts, staples pushed out from horses leaning over fences, and wires down. At this corner, we leave our property, and will continue around Meduna's borders, (with permission from our good friends/neighbors).

Gilroy's land, as all of the surrounding neighbors; had to deal with staples out, wires down, posts broken. ONE of the things that made me laugh when I read the 3 Strikes web site, was Jason claiming how well/much he fenced, because 'good fences make good neighbors'. Geez. I didn't even know it existed until a friend told me about it. (His web site, not good fencing...that didn't exist for 3 Strikes Ranch)

A good example of how the horses had to lean over in search of grass. The left side of the fence is actually Gilroy's land. He is another that Meduna accused of different things. The grass should come up to the fence line, as it is-there is about a 3' wide, eaten-to-the-ground path. I guess I don't need to repeat my self about staples out, wires down, and posts broken. Just ditto that for the rest of the tour.

How can things get this far out of hand? This ground didn't just appear like this over night. My husband watched it rapidly decline for 2 years. Why didn't we say something to Meduna about it? As I said in court, we did talk to him when he first moved in. He actually waved me over when I was in the hay field, he said he noticed we were haying the meadow, and since it runs into his meadow, it must be time to put it up! (good thinking, Mudna) Then Don talked to him, and HE ASKED DON about the fencing.... Don told him a few tips on where he would fence it and how if it were his. But, Meduna never did anything with the knowledge....(and I think Don has some, since he's lived here all his life, which would be over 50 years, you would hope one sort of knows what to do by then).

Anybody see anything to eat out there??????? Oh yes, what you probably cannot see in this picture, more bones up the hill.

In the center of this picture, you cannot see it very well, but there is another carcass on the ground. I took the liberty to zoom it in for you in the next picture.

A lot of the horses found on the place, were in low ground. That would be where the most vegetation would be. At least the horses knew that, but there was nothing there.

Meadow ground.
Pretty sure the average person can figure out there's no poisoning of feed, no poisoning of water....Hey, maybe there IS NO FEED, and there IS NO WATER. In grade school, we were taught that is what is needed to survive; or maybe our human instincts just knew that. this close up and the next close up; here is what I think happened. (No, I do not claim to be a vet, or have a fraction of their knowledge.) When I zoomed in on this horse, I think she went down, probably began labor, and had two things against her: 1. she was too weak to push and 2. she was laying downhill, which didn't help matters at all.

Yes, this poor horse could just be bloated from death. I stick to my thoughts:
There is dirt upturned behind her; this is either from her struggle to get up, have her colt, or a coyote has already come visiting. I prefer to hope it's one of the first two. It looks to me like her tail is high and behind her, this is what cows look like when they are calving. I personally have never watched a horse have a baby, but I'm pretty sure it's likely about the same. To me, it would appear she has a 'bag' - it looks like it is developed for a baby to suck, but could also be from death. I think she was with milk, ready to nurture her baby. And I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I think the white 'spot' you see between her bag and her tail, is possibly a hoof. A baby hoof that never had a chance to be born into this world.

In our world of calving, we check our cows every couple hours. If one is calving, we check her more often until the calf is on the ground. The risk of the dying from even the sack on it's face is there, so we are there. We may not save all of them, but we are out there trying.

This horse breeder was not. And how many died that we'll never know of? How long has he been breeding?

I can only hope death was fast. But death from starvation is not...

This photo is from the south/eastern side of 3 Strikes Ranch.

Guess which side belonged to Meduna?

Obviously, the right side of the fence was Meduna's. The hills in the far, far distance were Meduna's.

Words are not needed.

The erosion on the left side of the fence, is caused by the fact there is no ground cover on Meduna's side, so when the wind does the sand. It covers the grass on the opposite side, although most of it directly on the opposite side, had been eaten down to the ground also. Can you imagine why?

Some say, 'he just got in over his head.' I say, 'No.'

This 'tour' consists of only half our border with Meduna, and one other neighbor. There are three more that border him. This is the first set. This is the east area that he told everyone he had to get the horses in from, to be able to watch them and protect them from the neighbors, and to keep them from any more poison.

Now look at this land. What do you think? Someone (we) poisoned his horses? Or did they just not have anything to eat?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For these who suffered...

This is the property that was 3 Strikes Ranch, owned - at that time - by Jason and Anissa Meduna. This is not in any way what the property looked like when Meduna purchased the ranch from Glen and Lucille Kooper, even though in court he said it was just tumbleweeds. If you knew what the Kooper Ranch looked like before, it would be only natural that tears might fall from your eyes, seeing the devastation the Medunas caused on the land. The land is now owned by someone else. Good people. It will be interesting to see the before and after pictures. This above, being their before.

This rescue at 3 Strikes Ranch, started the day Jason unloaded his first semi-load of horses. 115 horses in the sand hills, in drought conditions. There was the first two strikes against the horses in the beginning. We observed, we watched, we visited among each other; how could this work on this land? Then more horses arrived. More horses, less rain, less grass, less hope.

Before the trial is discussed, I would like you to see, through theses photos, why this trial even existed. Many people gave their time, money, prayers, and dedication to see justice given to one who would cause such suffering and hardship on any animal. The law says 70 perished. That is what they could actually account for. It wasn't until closing statements, that I realized the entire acreage had not been canvased. I went out on my 4 wheeler, Sunday, January 17th. Apprehensive of what I would find, camera along... I started the journey of discovering for myself how many animals suffered and died.

This is a tag from one of the horses, found amongst the remains. I have only explored the north east portion of the land. This is a lot of what borders our land. I do believe this: in the short time I've went through these hills, only 2 hours, and I put 10 miles on the 4 wheeler, trying not to miss any little pockets on the hills, covering each section of land the best I could - I do believe there are many more that 70 dead horses that died in Meduna's 'care'.
You don't see the horse? No one did. No one but Meduna, maybe both of them? These trees are in the meadow that borders ours. From our meadow looking south, they are quite a distance away. As I drove nearer to this spot, there lay camouflaged in the fallen dead tree limbs, a horse skeleton.
Did he lay his head on the fallen branches, hoping to find shade from the hot summer sun? Was there enough grass to graze from under the trees, finding his last meal before his strength gave way to despair? Until his despair gave way to death? His legs are near by in the trees. It is my prayer he died before the coyotes came. If not, it is my prayer somehow God let his helpless body go into shock, and he was not aware of the predators feeding on him. Sounds horrible? It's the cold, hard facts of what happens out here. Do Mustangs die from other predators, in the wild? On the BLM grounds, where cougars, bears, or wolves take care of the weak, the old, the horses that cannot get to their feet.
But here; this was supposed to be like a sanctuary. People brought their horses here to live out the rest of their lives in a beautiful, better place. This should not be how a mustang dies here. Euthanasia is better than being eaten alive. This is not 'wild country' where the predators roam, looking for helpless animals. This was to be a place of dignity, of freedom. And then I saw the bottles. Empty bottles. Right at these trees. What happened here? Was this the 'thinking log'? Or just the stop off place, the resting place for the human - to refresh himself before tying onto another horse, to drag to the pit.

These are the remains of horses, but not in a pit. Not in 'the pit'. They lay only on the side of hill. An attempt to cover with hay, only to be exposed by wind, and drug out by predators. How amazing to see so much hay given to dead horses. In the court room, Meduna told the jurors that he did not cover the horses because he wanted to 'get to the bottom of it'.

Hillside piles. Not a pleasant thing to come across. Notice the mound? He didn't cover the horses? This hay covered who knows how many horses. How do I know? Because when I went to step upon the pile to take a picture of a hoof, the ground moved underneath my feet. Not like wavy moving, but like a sinking in, and that was mixed with a crunching sound. A sound of bones giving way, under the pressure of something on top of them. All over. The whole pile. I swallowed hard, and continued observing. Peeking up from underneath the hay, would be various bones, trying to protrude into the sunlight. How many were underneath? The only way one would know, would be to remove the hay. I was not ready for that. Not now.

One thing that really bothered me, besides all the needless death; was seeing the color/hair of the horse. I don't know why...maybe because so many will never be known or identified. But for some, there is a beautiful color left to their remains. I could capture whatever was left of them. Morbid as that sounds, the thought of having a pet (as our horses are) suffer through this was just almost unbearable. The skulls peeking up from their resting place under the hay. Hooves of all sizes. Many babies born. Many babies died.

What looks like a new burrowed home for some critter, at the expense of a horse's life. The hay had covered this rib cage, along with many others; bones peaked out from everywhere. How many were drug here before covered with hay?

How long did it take this horse to perish? How long without water? When a horse has no food or water, they are too weak to travel in search of nourishment. And how many tried to lie down to have their baby, but without needed strength, could not even manage to have the colt? Or how many had their little baby, but had no strength to get up? And what happened to her baby? What greeted the colt at night?

Ribs, protruding from the mass underneath the hay. He wanted to find out what the problem was? I think it's pretty obvious. So at what point, and how many horses must die, before you think you should consult someone?
Up over another hill, greeted by another skeleton. I plan to take a map of the place with me, to mark them and count them. 70 dead. Meduna claimed 23, or something like that? Shouldn't that be enough for his groupies to no longer follow him? I suppose not.

A couple of places really got to me. This one, because this was a horse we first saw from our fence. Left alone to die.

Nearby this area, was another carcass. But what I noticed, the ground seemed to draw a circle. It may be my imagination, but I do believe a horse had struggled here and began to make a 'halo'. A circle of death as the black mare did. Coyotes drug the bones, they were right at this sight. But how many circles are left unnoticed?

Life taken, unfairly and before it's time.

What is their sad story? Off by themselves, a large skull and a small skull. I can only presume a mare had a baby. And somehow, however long it took; they both died together.

I kept finding a single horse, or a small group. Not the larger piles that were seen from the air. Until I decided to make my way back, as dusk would be setting in.

So close to his house, I found this pile. There are so many, and my search has just begun. I took many pictures, too many to put on here. And for now, again, I'm tired of seeing them. I am comforted with this:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath:
for it is written,
Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,
saith the Lord.
Romans 12:19