It comes as no surprise that lawyers for Black Fence Farm have filed lawsuits against Western Milling, LLC., Goshen, CA. On Feb. 25, 2016, Sean Simpson, attorney for Simpson Law Group of Fresno, announced that plaintiffs are initiating a lawsuit to obtain punitive damages for severe illness and horse deaths. Also representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit submitted to Fresno Superior Court on Feb. 24 is Andrew Yaffa of Grossman, Roth, Yaffa, Cohen. While no dollar amounts were discussed, Simpson did state that the owners seek “fair and reasonable replacement.”
Western Milling is the company accountable for the milling, mixing and manufacture of monensin-tainted horse feed that sickened 51 show horses and ultimately killed 13 of them. The action brought against Western Milling holds the company responsible for the contamination of its horse feed products. In fact, the lawsuit contends that between Dec. 2009 and July of the next year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found “impermissibly high” samples of monensin in Western Milling’s feed samples. The company was directed to “take corrective measures to prevent future cross-contamination.”
Read earlier articles by Rucki about the monensin contamination and the horse deaths: Recall of Western Blend horse feed Lot 5251 in California and Arizona and Western Milling recalls toxic monensin-tainted feed-what about 13 dead horses?
It was in September 2015 when Katie Flanigan, owner of the boarding and show stable Black Fence Farm, unknowingly bought contaminated Western Blend horse feed and fed her horses and all the boarding horses in her care with it – It is impossible to ascertain monensin-tainted/poisoned feed by view or smell. Monensin, an antibiotic used primarily for weight gain in cattle and sometimes poultry, is extremely toxic to horses, causing both neurological and heart problems, other serious health issues, and death.
Black Fence Farm had a total of 51 horses at the time and all of the animals were fed with the Western Blend contaminated batch of horse feed. All of the horses became sick and, so far, 13 of the horses died. In addition, four horses from Temecula-based Ross Equestrian were affected by the contaminated feed, Simpson said. Ross Equestrian has joined Black Fence Farm in the lawsuit.
One of Black Fence Farm’s boarders, Dena Amador, boarded two horses at the farm and both became sick. Amador now has them at home and is incensed at what they are going through. She says, “I don’t think this company really understands and really cares what’s going on. I have to watch my daughter watch her pony suffer.”
Western Milling needs to take responsibility for the contamination fiasco and assume rightful financial obligation. There have been many losses and unspeakable suffering as a result of Western Milling’s laxity in operations.
Western Milling has not been responsive to media questions.