SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



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.

Eric Muench
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Eric Muench is a long time Ketchikan resident who has been friends with Bill Blackwell since his logging days

Related Story:

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. - More...
Friday - April 21, 2006


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Ketchikan, Alaska