Just days after Dr. Leea K. Arnold consigned 40 former recipient mares to a July 20th auction in Cleburne, Texas, she received a faxed letter that began, “Die!!!” The Weatherford, Texas-based veterinarian, who owns Arnold Reproduction Center, continued to be inundated with threatening and harassing phone calls, voice messages, texts, tweets, emails, faxes and Facebook messages when approximately 11 of those mares were identified on the Kaufman Kill Pen Facebook page.
“[It is] very intense,” Arnold said, likening the level of harassment to a piranha feeding frenzy. “My secretary, who is 54 years old and who has a past history of being in the military, driving a truck and working within the Parole Division of the State of Texas for 10 years, relayed she has never encountered the level of vulgarity and filthy language coming from the calls she received and the messages left on the answering service.”
When the message turned into threats of violence against herself and her business, Arnold contacted the sheriff’s department. She said she was advised to call 911 should she be confronted in person or have someone arrive at her facility; however, they also told her “threats by phone, fax, email, text messages and across social media are not deemed to be imminent.”
Arnold, well known and respected in the Western performance horse world and especially within the cutting horse industry for her expertise in the equine reproductive field, operates her facility with a herd of 650 to 700 recipient mares. She said those attacking her and her business on social media have also stolen her online images to create derogatory memes and “resorted to tagging/harassing clients they have identified through their posts on my Facebook page.”
Rumors alleging Arnold sent her mares to the auction with the intention of them ending up in the slaughterhouse have been circulating on Facebook pages such as the “Kill Buyer Wall of Shame” and “Justice for the Arnold Reproduction Center Weatherford TX Horses.” In response, Arnold offered her side of the story in her own Facebook post, dated July 24: “I recently sent some mares to the Cleburne Horse Sale. I certainly never intended for them to end up in the slaughter pen. Many of these mares came to me through the sale barn system, were sick, completely unbroken and certainly destined for slaughter at that time (15 or so years ago). As long as these mares are reproductively sound, they stay in my herd – many probably longer than they are useful. My staff and I have taken the time, money, and resources we have to help these mares become useful and give them a viable purpose…”
The post, which was public on The Arnold Reproduction Center page, had received 117 comments and 66 shares by mid-afternoon Thursday, Aug. 4. Of the 69 reactions made on the post, 32 were “angry,” 26 were “like,” seven were “love” and four were “sad.” While the large majority of the comments were from those questioning Arnold’s ethics as a veterinarian and criticizing her for not finding “a better solution,” several members of the horse industry barked back in Arnold’s defense. The veterinarian admitted she was surprised, though, at how few of her personal acquaintances stood up for her. Those who did were subjected to personal attacks, as well.
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