Her Frightened Phone Call Saved the Herd

Melissa Stastny took a deep breath as she dialed the phone in the warm air of her Oklahoma kitchen. It was a call she didn’t want to make, but she knew in her heart that she had to. It was a call that would save the lives of an entire herd of horses. Earlier that day, Mellisa had been driving down a country road when she saw a stallion with a sunken frame. She could see bits of his skeletal structure protruding from his hips and back. There was no question the horse needed help and no question that time was short.

“I was certain he would not make it through the winter which was just a month away,” Melissa explains. “I was afraid going through the sheriff would take too much precious time so, I contacted the owner and purchased him on the spot, no haggling.”

Without Melissa’s intervention, Forrest would have faced winter with this frail body.

Melissa named her new friend Forrest and took him home. She immediately introduced him to her horse Roderick who was grazing alone on 80 acres after the death of his long time companion Katie, who had been a treasured family member for 22 years.

“Roderick quivered the minute he caught scent of Forrest,” Melissa remembers vividly. “In all my pain over the loss of Katie, I had not realized just how lonely he had been.”

But before their happily-ever-after could begin, there was the matter of saving the rest of the neglected herd. Melissa knew that it was her responsibility to speak for all of them and she gathered her courage to make that call.

“I was really afraid of the hassle the Sherriff’s office would give me,” Melissa says. “The hardest part was getting up my nerve!  But when I called them, they transferred me to the animal welfare department.  I did not have to give my name.  They needed the address of where the horses were which was difficult since none was posted.  I live in a very rural area.  I ended up giving them directions and I could tell by the landmarks he recognized that he knew where I was talking about.”

A week later, all 30-40 horses were gone. Just like that, the field was empty. There would be no slow battle against winter for the horses, just new beginnings, and lots of them.

Fear is normal for anyone contemplating action against the guardians of a neglected animal. The situation is uncomfortable, unpredictable and sometimes downright haunting. But for those who know of an animal in need, this story stands as a yard stick for what can be done with just an inch of courage.  See photo of Forrest grazing


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Rescued Horses Get Happy Ending (Video)


Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Hope this kind of wit can help more animals in need

Jul M5 years ago

Thanyou for saving these animals.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy S5 years ago

Sometimes situations call for feeling the fear and doing it anyway. God bless you, Melissa Stastny!

Cindy G.
Cindy G5 years ago

Thank you for being who you are and for saving those horses!

Alina G.

Thank You Melissa!!

Claudia Cavallo
Claudia Cavallo5 years ago

Thank you Melissa; what you did is great, I hope you all can live well together now

Jenni Haughton
Jenni Haughton5 years ago

Melissa, you did a very caring thing, I hope all the horses did go to a better place. And you have given one of them a second chance of happiness.
to of left the other horses without notifying any one they would of probably not survived the winter.
I am glad you cared enought to do something. And that makes you an angel in my eyes.
We are here to look after our planet and animals and nurture it as it does us.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

(cont).........James, the people who utilize slaughter are unlikely to acquire more horses if there are slaughterhouses in the U.S. than if not, because they lack ethics in the first place. They won't necessarily be desuaded from acquiring more horses simply because they make less profit from having to ship 2500 miles vs. 50 miles, but the stress on the horses would be less if the distance was less and the conditions monitored and regulations enforced. The stress to the horses is what concerns me, since I have little hope of everyone in this country from ever NOT neglecting or abusing their horses in the future. It certainly did not decrease when the slaughterhouses closed down, in fact, the numbers went up.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

"Those who recommend the re-opening of slaughter houses in the US, are merely enabling irresponsible owners to easily and legally get rid of their "problem". You can be sure that those owners will acquire more horses, and those horses will meet the same fate. The answer is not to give abusive and neglectful owners an easy out"..........James H., do you not see that those who would ship horses off to slaughter if the plants re-open here in the U.S. are either NOW shipping them at terrible distances to Canada or Mexico, wheere we have no say in the methods used (no authority, no rules/regulations)? The other choice such people have, and which has been used more and more is simply abandoning these horses to die of starvation.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Kathryn W., you described the horrors of long distance travel for horses heading to slaughter in Canada (and Mexico) very well, however, you fail t address the fact that IF there were proper facilities in the U.S. for slaughter-bound horses, all of that would be moot. Those that are going to send their horses to slaughter will do so whether the plants are in this country or in another, as long as they can afford to pay the hauler and still make a few bucks on the deal. Their alternative is often starving the horses such as Forrest's fate would have been OR just abandoning them somewhere hidden, like in a forest or somebody else's pasture. If Forrest's previous owner had neglected him because he was unable to purchase feed (as somebody suggested, or his pastures had just dried up), he'd have given Forrest away, not asked $700 for him. If he'd cared about Forrest, he would not try to make money off of him, his concern would have been for Forrest.