The true hero, Bill Blackwell
By Eric Muench
April 23, 2006
Thanks for the great story about the Blackwell family and their
animals. Here is another story of what Bill and his kids did
for three large horses that had been abandoned on property in
the Loop Road area. They were originally intended by their owner
for tourist riding but had been neglected and starved.
After many citizen complaints over a very long time, the Borough
eventually took them into protective custody and housed them
alongside the highway near Saxman where they were fed but not
otherwise cared for. During six months of wind, rain and snow
in the winter of 2000/01 they were forced to stand without exercise
or shelter and with their feet in six inches of accumulated mud,
urine and manure.
Local citizens finally browbeat Borough Animal Control officials
to allow them to be moved to dryer ground and if it had not been
for Bill Blackwell's horse handling experience that would have
been disastrous. Their hooves were by then soft, sore and overgrown.
Walking across the hard paved highway was so painful that they
wanted to bolt and almost fell. Then Bill and Primalee, my family
and Astrid Crocker did what we could to take care of them. Borough
Parks and Recreation folks built them a roofed shelter and Gateway
Veneer Mill donated delivered sawdust for their shelter bedding
and at last the poor horses' lives had a chance to improve. But
past starvation and constant wetness had caused their hair to
start falling out and one had hoof rot with infection starting
to spread up his leg. They were on a downhill slide toward death
before Bill saved them. Only he had the knowledge and tools to
treat them, and he did it freely, visiting them at least twice
a day, cleaning and treating their hoofs and determining a feeding
program for their recovery. Without his instructions on what
and when to feed and how to groom and clean them, all our efforts
would have been useless.
We eventually established contact with Second Chance horse rescue
ranch in Cedro Wooley, Washington, who agreed to take them. The
Borough paid for their transport and on the day of their departure
Animal Control was on hand for photos and credit. The public
never learned who the true hero was.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Eric Muench is a long time Ketchikan resident who has
been friends with Bill Blackwell since his logging days
A Tail of Hearts United For Animals
In Need MARIE L. MONYAK - In Ketchikan,
people tell and retell stories and occasionally they become distorted
in the retelling. Locals and tour guides alike repeat the misinformation
until it becomes accepted as fact. For years stories have been
told about the Blackwell's that live on the corner of Deermount
and Fair Streets next to City Park and much of it has been incorrect.
Friday - April 21, 2006
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