In this 16-minute, two-part YouTube video, Brian Travis of Candia, NH reveals the chain of events that led to the seizure of twelve of his horses by a joint SPCA-Candia police raid. The SPCA/police aren’t saying why they took the horses, no charges have been filed against Mr Travis and the search warrant is sealed, so we don’t even know what – if any – probable cause the police used to get the warrant.
Allegations of Neglect not Convincing
Apparently there are allegations of the horses not having sufficient shelter but in the video we see plenty of shelters. The horses not taken by the SPCA/police appear to be well-fed and look healthy. The same veterinarian that Mr Travis himself hired to come out and examine a horse with an infection a couple weeks prior to the raid also – intriguingly – accompanied the SPCA/Candia police on the raid.
Seacoast Online Violates Journalistic Standards
I found the Seacoast Online’s coverage of the raid surprising. Their article carries no byline and a statement that is out of place in a news article: “The horses were not receiving proper care and shelter”. Well, according to whom? News media usually put the word “allegedly” in such assertions of fact, and they usually tell us who is making the assertion. There is no statement from Mr Travis in the article either. Is this news or propaganda? This piece from the Union Leader is considerably better.
The police refuse to answer questions about the raid or reveal the whereabouts of the animals. Mr Travis hints that he may have been behind on some of the paperwork for the horses, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough for this raid and seizure. Paperwork is a minor matter. But maintaining twelve horses can get quite expensive – and now the taxpayers of Candia, New Hampshire are forced to foot the bill.
Reminiscent of Liberty Dollar Raid
This is reminiscent of the 2007 raid against the Liberty Dollar, where the FBI seized a large amount of precious metal coins under guise of an investigation, but without filing any charges. Eighteen months later they still have the coins but have yet to file any charges!
Indefinite Seizure of Property + No Charges = Tyranny
Where do the police and the SPCA get the power to seize someone’s property just on suspicion of having committed some crime? Shouldn’t they come up with the charges and file them before being able to seize someone’s property? How about if they’re required to prepare the charges and file them within one week of a seizure? Otherwise, this is outright tyranny – they can hold property indefinitely without a good reason. Is that really legal? right?
Will they Take my Golden?
I’m moving to New Hampshire soon. My golden retriever is very well cared for but he has skin problems. We’ve invested a lot of time and money and he’s improved, but still has recurring issues. So if these gentlemen from the SPCA see him with a sore on his foot, will he be removed from my custody? Are they going to care for him any better than my family already does? Given the tight bonds of affection between people and their animals, seizure without any due process beyond a judge’s signature is a frightening vector of attack against ordinary folks that happen to cross someone with state authority.
Is the SPCA Really Doing its Job Here?
I’m left wondering, where was the SPCA when they couldn’t find hay? Where was the SPCA when Brian was designing his sheds, attempting to build his fences? Surely a charity concerned with animal safety would see benefits of offering assistance over threatening others with the force of government.
Something’s Fishy Here
In any case, something’s very fishy here and it smells like a personal vendetta against Mr Travis. I’m not sure what the right course of action is, but if the SPCA/police are in the right here, they will benefit by opening up the search warrant and releasing the location and current living conditions of the seized horses. If they had good cause for the raid and if the horses are getting better care, only they and their cause stand to benefit.