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I am writing in response to the article, "One year later, questions linger in fatal horse crash," which appeared in the May 29 paper. What this article does not directly say is that (Dianne) Satterfield was forced to pursue investigative leads herself due to a lack of adequate response from Gainesville and Hall County officials.
This lack of response and attention to proper animal control in Hall County has cost my father his life. If this problem is not addressed directly and authoritatively, I have no doubt that additional accidents and possibly fatalities will occur.
In May 2009 alone, the month of my father's fatal accident, there were seven 911 reports of horses running free in Hall County's roadways. The information made available to us gives no indication that follow-up reports were ever filed, proper responses were recorded, or fines for improper fencing were given to the responsible parties.
If these calls had been afforded a proper response, it is possible that my father would still be with us today. At least one more car accident involving a loose horse in the Gainesville area has occurred since my father died due to horse owner negligence, and authorities remain unconcerned.
To Hall County residents, I urge you to demand the proper animal control procedures be enforced and required in your county. Not for my father's sake, but for the sake of fathers who are still alive and who could be injured or lose their lives any day due to one person's refusal to repair as broken fence. Lack of proper animal control enforcement increases the likelihood that more accidents and fatalities will occur in Hall County, and poses direct safety violations that must be addressed in an official capacity.
To horse owners in Hall County: Please take responsibility for your animals, and recognize that loose horses are more than a financial liability to your farm. They are a safety liability to those living around you.
The cost of a fence can be quantified and paid off, but the value of a human life is, as I have learned in the last year, truly priceless.
And to the owner of the horse that killed my father, I ask of you now, please afford us the respect of quietly identifying yourself and allowing a sense of closure for me and my family. A simple phone call would make a world of difference between a future lifetime of unanswered questions, and the ability to understand the series of events that led to our life's biggest tragedy.
If anyone out there knows the identity of the person who owned the horse involved in last year's fatal car crash, please contact me at Jess.Satterfield@yahoo.com.