Woman Arrested for Bringing Water to Animals in Scorching Heat


Written by Susan Bump of California

Three years ago, I was driving home and noticed a farm with very thin horses without water. I stopped my car and got out and all the farm animals, goats, chickens, ducks, miniature horses called to me.  It was 103 degrees on a sweltering summer day and I could see from the road that all of the water troughs were tipped over and empty.  There weren’t even puddles near the troughs so these animals had been without water for a long time and were desperately thirsty.  I called 911 and was put through to Animal Control who told me they would check on the farm within the next few days.  Desperately thirsty means “Need water now, not in a few days.”

I climbed the fence and gave all of the animals water (photo above depicts the animals months later, after their rescue). I found distress of a level that I had never seen in my life. I couldn’t stop crying as I ran around and watered everyone.  There was a bad smell, like dead animals and I found a dead rabbit rotting in his cage. Two skinny kittens ran after me screaming for food.

They Denied Everything

A few days later, Animal Control called me and told me they had checked the farm and everything was all right, my concern was ill founded. I felt like I had stepped into the Twilight Zone!

Some like this one are safe now and healthy but the offender continues to have animals on her property.

I continued to keep a close eye on these animals and found them all again without water two weeks later. I got the same response from Animal Control and proceeded to climb the fence and water them all again.  This time I was arrested for trespassing and made headlines in the North County Times and Valley Roadrunner.

It took 9 months, several court appearances, a useless Public Defender, and then an Animal Rights Attorney stepped in and helped me.

Seven miniature horse died of dehydration and starvation and the owner, Mary Johnson, was eventually charged with six counts of Animal Cruelty and I was fined $50 for trespassing.

Would I climb that fence again knowing that a legal battle would ensue?  You bet your ass I would! I had a group of solid supporters that the newspaper termed my entourage.

In the end, four animal rights activist attorney’s stepped in and put an end to the nonsense. I wrote a book about my life and my arrest that will soon be published entitled “My Wild Ride.”

More Photos Here of the Animals Prior to Rescue


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Charmaine Shannon

This "ANGEL" is an Example for all of us "FOLLOWERS" !!!! PLEASE Don't ever turn a "BLIND EYE" on any Situation !! You can "MAKE a DIFFERENCE"......

Lorettal P.
Loretta P4 years ago

Yea, Susan you rock and are a wonderful angel in my eyes. Thank you for saving these animals. As for the owner I hope she is forbidden from ever owning an animal. As for the lackuster animal control employees, shame on you for your unacceptable response to this dire situation. Susan is the hero here, and I am appalled she was fined for coming to the rescue of these animals.

Nimue Pendragon

Animal Control were obviously useless. Thank you Susan for you persistence! :)

Sue T.
Susan T5 years ago

animal control ~ thats a joke. like they care! Good for you Susan! thanks for caring

Sheila Stevens
Sheila S5 years ago

Good for you, Susan! I would have paid them $50 to let me care for the animals! You did the right and noble thing.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Thank you for helping. You are my hero.

Colleen W.
Colleen W5 years ago

Disgraceful - why where the animal authorities not charged??? If there was water available why was it not given to the animals? what was her defence? This is just mind boggling.

Carla van der Meer

Thank goodness for heroes like Sandra Bump, we need more of you. The laws dealing with animal cruelty and neglect must be changed to reflect the true horror and the pain inflicted on those who cannot speak for themselves, as it is ,we let people off far too lightly.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

Couldn't they hit her with a lifetime animal ban? Thanks for your great rescue and I know I would have done the same. So happy there are people like you out there, Susan!

Rhiannon Bloomfield

That was so brave! Good for you, i'm really proud of what you did! But the authorities are disgusting they should have done more!