County officer says she helped the horses
Despite claims from some in the equestrian community, Pitkin County Animal Control officer ReRe Baker says she’s been working very hard to help the three horses that were stranded at Old Snowmass.
The horses were spotted two weeks ago in a pasture near the intersection of Snowmass Creek Road and Watson Divide Road. One was on the verge of starvation, and the other two were extremely skinny.
Baker said Thursday she has decided to leave the horses under the care of Holly McLain at Moon Run Ranch, rather than move them into the possession of Mike Gerbaz or anyone else associated with their owner, Conrado Gonzales.
Baker has been accused by various members of the equestrian community of reacting too slowly to calls about the horses and failing to keep people apprised of the situation.
She said the first call she received about the horses was in October from a Snowmass Creek resident who reported a gash on the front leg of the mare. She said she checked the situation out at the time and found the mare to be in good shape: the horse looked well fed and she wasn’t limping.
The next report about the horses was on Jan. 26, when another Snowmass Creek resident called the sheriff’s office to say there were three starving horses in the pasture.
Baker went to the site immediately and contacted Gerbaz, who leases the pasture where the horses were located. Gerbaz took a bail of hay to the pasture while Baker got some water.
“If I had known they were still in that field, they would never have gotten to that point,” she said.
Baker said she began her investigation immediately, although much of her time this week has been spent in a personnel review hearing. She said someone may eventually be charged with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor.
Baker is a state-certified animal safety officer. She has been on the job in Pitkin County for 18 years.
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