Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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MHWF, Inc.

As many of you here have read Roy's story already, please know that a Facebook Group has been created by someone called Justice for Roy.  The description and link is below.  

Roy was discovered wandering down Hwy 80 in Babcock, WI on 9/26/2016. Starved for months and covered in rain rot, Roy was taken in by Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation. Despite their efforts, Roy succumbed to the starvation he suffered at the hands of his abuser. This page (at the below link) has been created to make sure his abuser receives the punishment that is deserved.  

Criminal charges are pending and until they are filed by the Wood County District Attorney's office a name will not be released. 

Please follow this page so we make sure charges are filed!


Wendy W - WI
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I fell hard for this boy and never even met him. I want justice for him.......really really bad.  

Donna R
I echo what Wendy said.  I can't stop thinking about Roy, his gentle soul, and the hell he suffered through before you took him in.  Thank you once again for all you have done for him! And thank you to the person who created the Facebook group Justice for Roy!!!
MHWF, Inc.
We have repeatedly attempted to get an answer from the Wood County District Attorney's office regarding charges against Roy's owner to no avail.
 The case is sitting on the desk of Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell. 
Mr. Zell has given many excuses as to why he has not or may not charge Roy's owner, all we feel are not valid. 
 So here is what we need to do to try and get justice moving in this case. 
 Contact the District Attorney's office by phone or email asking for information and asking for justice to be served for the death of Roy, the horse who was starved to death in Wood County back in September. 
Please, please keep in mind you catch more flies with honey than vinegar so BE POLITE AND PROFESSIONAL! 
 We only have the email address of Mr. Zell's boss, District Attorney Craig Lambert, so kindly ask Mr. Lambert to forward your email or to handle the matter himself. 
 You can also call and ask to speak to either Mr. Zell or Mr. Lambert. 
The time is now. It is time to flood the Wood County District Attorney's office with calls and emails so they know that as tax payers and the people that pay their salaries that we want the laws upheld in the county for everyone, including animals. 
Remember BE POLITE. 
Thank you for caring about Roy. 
 Phone number: 715-421-8515
Email: Craig.lambert@da.wi.gov
PO Box 8095
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495 
 Feel free to copy and use this photo in your correspondence with the Wood County District Attorney's office. 
 Thank you all for caring about Roy and justice in his case!

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Look for a story about Roy on the news tonight at 6 and 10!

WSAW Chanel 7: Wausau


Sandy K
Good interview . I'm glad they aired the vet's comments also . Now we shall see how long it takes for the "understaffed" DA's office to get moving on this .
I'm happy that this case hit the news media.  I'm hoping it just won't die there, after this initial report.  I would like to see a follow up by the news people, keeping pressure on the District Attorney's office until the party responsible for Roy being tortured (starved to death), is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and not just given a slap on the wrist either.
It was Karen's turn the other day with her TV interview, so I guess this morning it was my turn. We got a call from the Marshfield News herald as well as the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune and they are also running stories, not sure when, but I would assume very soon, in the next day or two.
MHWF, Inc.

BABCOCK - Prosecutors have yet to file charges nearly three months after an emaciated horse found by the side of the road died from starvation.

"Allowing a horse to slowly starve to death, as Roy had been, is by definition cruel and inhumane," Dr. Gary Johnson, a veterinarian with Corriente Veterinary Service inPlover, wrote in a report submitted Oct. 12 to the Wood County District Attorney's Office.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell, who has been assigned the horse's case, said he has not had time to decide whether to file charges against Roy's owner because of a heavy workload that dictates priorities.

In the meantime, Karen and Scott Bayerl, directors of Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation in Pittsville, say they are worried about what will happen to another horse still in the care of Roy's former owner. Members of the horse rescue group are worried that prosecutors may think the case is too difficult to charge, Karen Bayerl said. The Bayerls want Roy's former owner charged soon to ensure the safety of the second horse.

A veterinarian said Roy had no muscle left and was

A veterinarian said Roy had no muscle left and was barely able to stand by the time he was rescued. He died less than a week later. (Photo: Photo courtesy Nancy Olson)

Wood County Humane Officer Nanci Olson  said the second horse was in fine shape and had access to good bales of hay when she saw it in late September, so she had no reason to remove that horse from the owner.

Roy's condition came to light when a Babcock woman, Wendy Savage, found the Appaloosa horse shortly after 2:30 a.m. Sept. 26 wandering on State 80, according to documents the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin obtained through an open records request to Olson. Savage walked the horse almost two miles to a home belonging to one of her friends and they contacted Wood County emergency dispatchers.

Roy's owner picked him up, but when Olson went to check on him she found Roy and another horse standing nearly knee deep in manure and mud, according to her reports. Roy was emaciated and had rain rot, a type of infection, covering his body and face, the reports said.

The pasture had a water tank and feed bin, which held a little grain. It also had a large, round bale of hay that was black with mold. The owner told Olson that she had been feeding the horses the moldy hay, according to the reports. Olson reported that she saw about two weeks' worth of good hay in a nearby shelter.

RELATED: Animal neglect gets woman 30 days in jail

RELATED: 43 dogs, 6 horses seized in Clark County

The horse's owner agreed to voluntarily give up Roy, and the Bayerls picked him up the same day. The owner said she couldn't ride Roy anyway, according to the report. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin has withheld the horse owner's name because she has not been charged with a crime and has not been reached for comment on this story.

The Bayerls brought in Johnson, the veterinarian, to examine Roy and they worked out a treatment program for him. The couple fed Roy hydration hay, which is finely chopped and mixed with water to create a slurry, Scott Bayerl told a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reporter.

"Every time we go out to check on (Roy) he gives us a hearty whinny and begs for more, plus his face is covered in the slurry," the couple posted on the organization's Facebook page shortly after Roy's arrival. "He is about as happy as I have ever seen a horse and he is a very likable guy."

Then, on Oct. 2, the couple discovered Roy was down when they went to let him get some sunshine while they cleaned his stall, Scott Bayerl said.

"There was no getting him back up," he said.

The couple tried everything, but Roy's organs already were shut down when he came to the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Scott Bayerl said. They called the veterinarian. Karen Bayerl got Roy a big bowl of food — something they hadn't been able to let him have before because his system couldn't have handled it. She held Roy's head in her lap and let him eat until the veterinarian arrived.

When he first saw Roy, Johnson had scored the horse's body a one on a scale of one to 10, according to the reports. If the scale went any lower, he would have given him that score, according to the report.

"A horse cannot get any skinnier than this and still be standing," Johnson said in the report. "Roy was one of the most severely emaciated horses that I have encountered in my career."

Roy is shown a few days after he was removed from a

Roy is shown a few days after he was removed from a woman's care in Babcock. (Photo: Photo courtesy Nanci Olson)

Roy had no muscle left and was too weak and undernourished to undergo sedation for dental work, according to the report. Roy was lame in his back leg, but the doctor said he couldn't determine the cause because the horse didn't have enough muscle.

Karen Bayerl gave Olson, the humane officer, a report on Roy's blood work Sept. 28. Roy had no disease that would have caused him to lose weight like he had, according to the report.

"It is horrendous that someone could let an animal literally starve to death like this. ... He is very close to death," Karen Bayerl told Olson, according to the report.

The couple had no choice but to have the horse euthanized when Roy went down and they couldn't get him back up, according to the report. He died on Oct. 2.

Olson filed a request for criminal charges, including a felony charge of mistreating an animal causing death, with the Wood County District Attorney's Office on Oct. 12.

Zell, the assistant DA, said he had not made a charging decision yet on Thursday because he hasn't had time to study the reports.

The Wood County District Attorney's Office has four attorney positions, fewer than half the number it needs to handle its workload, according to a state report that Zell cited. The office has one vacant position, leaving three attorneys to handle the work of what the report states should be about nine people.

Prosecutors have to prioritize their cases based on specific criteria, Zell said. If a defendant is in jail, the case is a priority. Traffic cases get scheduled a court date when they are filed, so those get handled first. A referral that isn't assigned a court date does not have a priority. Zell said he could not discuss the specifics of Roy's case or any open case but said he sympathizes with the people who care about the horse.

"This case and every other case are important and we do our best to get to them as soon as possible, even though it hasn't got a deadline," Zell said.

In the meantime, Scott and Karen Bayerl worry about the other horse still under the care of Roy's owner. The reports state the horse had a cough and Olson directed the owner to seek veterinary care and have the veterinarian send Olson a report. Olson had not received any information about the second horse when she filed her request for charges Oct. 12.

Olson said she called Zell about a week after she filed the request for charges and he explained the workload and staffing situation in the office to her. Read Olson's report and charging request here. 

You can contact reporter Karen Madden at 715-424-7308, karen.madden@gannettwisconsin.com or follow her on Twitter @KMadden715.

Josey E.
If animal neglect is a Felony by the Federal Laws then why don't they step in?  It is looking like this Zell guy is protecting the owner!
I am glad this is getting some press finally.
MHWF, Inc.
The Marshfield News Herald, front page and the whole back page telling Roy's story.  

Thank you all for helping to be Roy's voice.  

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Connie Reiter-Miller
It sounds as if where Roy lived is known.  Why can't someone go there to check on the other horse and possibly other animals?  Doesn't make sense to me.  This should be stopped before a death happens.  ASPCA?   County Humane Society?  I also emailed DA Lambert. 

Yes! I thought they did a good job telling the story. I read it online and read the humane officer report. I also emailed Assistant District Attorney Zell several days ago but did not receive a response. Do you think it would be helpful to email the DA Lambert.

I think all the media coverage is going to help this case. Maybe now the former owner of Roy is starting to think about what she has done.
the former owner can't hide Roy anymore, like she hid him in her paddock. The word is out and Roy deserves to have his story told. I really hope justice is served. How she could be so cruel is beyond me and many, many other people I know.
Jurita, I copied both of them on my email ☺
Roys story was featured on the website called NewsoftheHorse.com today.
USA Today is also running the story of Roy. Hopefully there will be enough pressure now so justice will be done.
Donna R
What great media coverage to get the word out about Roy from each site!!!  I have been reading them all as they become available.  And now USA today!  Very difficult for Michael Zell to continue to put this case on the back burner after all this publicity! 

A side note:  When I opened the 2017 MHWF calendar and saw Roy's dedication photo on the cover, tears immediately flowed as I kissed his muzzle in the photo and said " Oh Roy, you gentle soul.  You will not be forgotten.  Justice must be served".  How appropriate for the cover of the calendar.  This is all a huge testament of what this program is all about.  How many of you reacted about the same way when opening their calendar?

Like so many others - I was so hoping Roy would pull through.  May he help save others with us being his voice he no longer has
I am not sure that we updated Roy's case here, but here is pertinent information regarding Roy's case:  

Thank you everyone for caring about Roy, not forgetting him, and helping with your voices being heard. Wood County did charge Belva Bowden today in regards to Roy's case. While it is certainly not at all what we were expecting in the seriousness of this crime, at least this charge was brought forth. Thank you to Wood County and Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell for taking this matter seriou...sly and moving forward.
951.02 Intentionally Mistreat Animals Misd. A


WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A Wood County prosecutor has filed a misdemeanor charge against a 57-year-old Babcock woman suspected of letting a horse starve to death. The charges come more than three months after the animal's death.

Belva M. Bowden is charged with intentionally mistreating an animal. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine. Bowden's initial appearance on the charge is scheduled for Feb. 6. The criminal complaint was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

Wood County Humane Officer Nanci Olson filed a request for charges with the Wood County District Attorney's Office Oct. 12, according to reports received by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin through an open records request. Olson requested a felony charge of mistreatment of an animal causing death, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 3.5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Bowden owned a horse named Roy, which a Babcock resident found on State 80 at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 26, according to the documents. The horse was retrieved by Bowden, who later voluntarily gave it to the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, based in Pittsville.

The Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation worked out a treatment program for the horse, but Roy died on Oct. 2. Karen Bayerl, who co-directs the foundation with her husband, Scott, said when they found Roy was unable to stand, they knew they needed to call an emergency veterinarian to have the animal euthanized. Karen Bayerl held Roy's head in her lap and fed Roy a big bowl of feed — something she had not been able to do for the horse before, because its system wouldn't have handled it — while they waited for the vet.

Wood County Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell said last week that he hadn't filed charges sooner because the District Attorney's Office is understaffed and he hadn't had time to study the case.

Court date coming up:  

Type 2
Court Official
09:00 am
Wood County Circuit Court Branch 3
Initial appearance
Wolf, Todd P
This still makes me very emotional.  It is not about revenge with me but rather why Belva?  Why did you let this poor horse suffer in excruciating starvation pain - it makes me so sad, angry, more.

If you saw the pictures of how so happy Roy was to be fed - how flipping hard is that? If you couldn't - you should have taken the time to do some basic reach-out.

I hope somehow you get to read how so many of us REALLY feel like we were punched in the belly over your neglect.  MHWF has brought life to many on the edge but you simply waited to long with Roy - there was no chance, you were too selfish or cruel-hearted.  Why???

What is more sad is you have no tears while so many of us do - think of what that says of your soul???  My wish is that you never are in the company of animals or young people again as that is a privileged not a right and you no longer should have it.  May you waste away in loneliness.
What ever happened to the other horse at the property?
We discovered that Roy's owner had moved her other horse to a friend's home.  They have been contacted by authorities and have stated that the horse has been given to them.  They have been ordered to get a Coggins test on the horse as required by law when transferring ownership, so the horse will be seen by a veterinarian. There are no other horses on the property of Roy's previous owner.  

Thank you for the update Karen.


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