GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - "It was a long night so I just let him eat some grass and I was so tired I fell asleep, I just dozed off in my truck waiting for the time to go by," Brian Sims said.
Brian Sims, owner of Romance Carriage Rides was parked near Hovey Street Southwest on Aug. 21, waiting to take his horse back to the stables. The horse stays in a barn with an Amish family up north.
"Kind of scared to drive that far, so I made sure I was going to stay there until it got light and the Amish people don't want you there anyway when you board the horse there," Sims said. "I know what I'm doing, and for Grand Rapids to do this, now I see a lot carriage companies not coming down like they used to, now I know why."
According to the Animal Control Report, a horse was found by police and secured behind a business until animal control officers arrived.
"When we got out there, we were made aware of whose horse it was and we know that we had a very lengthy history with this gentleman and we observed that the horse was not in the greatest health," Kent County Health Department Marketing and Communications Manager Steve Kelso said.
Officers then noticed the trailer.
"It's my understanding that the trailer was in such shape that our Animal Control Officer was concerned that if the horse stepped into it, they may well step through it, that the metal was deteriorated from rust and what was in there was a large amount of fecal matter that was just not suitable for housing a horse," Kelso said.
Sims said he knew the trailer needed some fixing.
"I know what's safe and isn't safe, it had a little loose boards when he comes into the trailer, well, he steps over that ain't no big deal, yeah sure it had to be fixed a lot of things have to be fixed with people's things," Sims said.
Sims also said his horse is in great condition.
"He looks skinny but he was far from undernourished, I don't work him that hard or long anyway, so pulling that carriage is nothing," Sims said.
Sims is convinced the city is just trying to do away with the carriage rides downtown.
"I was just making sure he was a good horse, and he was an excellent horse and then I was very happy, then this has to happen in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now I know why everybody's moving out of this place," Sims said.
As far as Sims history with Animal Control complaints, since 2007 we were made aware of 12 including this one.
"That's it, maybe they made it up and put it in their pocket, but I don't remember getting any," Sims said.
"It's not right to come up and take somebody's horse, I love that horse, I can't believe they did that, I'm just minding my own business, that's all I was doing, I got to go through this, not fair, Grand Rapids is not fair," Sims said.
A veterinarian did an assessment of the horse and gave it a two out of nine on the emaciation scale. This scale is a common form of assessment among veterinarian. Nine being very overweight and one as very underweight. The county does charge a fee per day, while they house an animal until the owner arrives. Sims had until 5 p.m, Wednesday to bring the funds and an adequate trailer, in order to get his horse back.
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