The Mules spent Wednesday night on the outskirts of Temecula on the top of the pass. On Thursday morning (April 12th), we got up ate oatmeal, packed Little Girl, headed in to Temecula, crossed the river and secured Little Girl in the parking lot outside Starbucks. An animal control officer arrived, came into Starbucks and told me they received a call about Little Girl, but it was okay and then left. Shortly thereafter, I also left Starbucks and headed for WinCo Foods (5 miles away) to buy groceries.
We were across the street from WinCo at the stop light when two Temecula police officers stopped, got out of their car. The female officer started to question me…. “Where are you going? Where are you from?” I told her that I did not have to answer her questions and I wasn’t going to. Then she started messing with Little Girl by trying to touch Little Girl’s head and face. Little Girl didn’t like the officer reaching for her face and was annoyed by the officer’s actions. I asked the officer to stop. The officer didn’t want to stop and continued to irritate Little Girl. I told the officer if she didn’t stop, the Mules would arrest her and take her to jail.
Then the other officer started asking me similar questions…”Where are you going? What are you doing?” I told him that we are waiting for the signal light to change so that we can go to WinCo, and that’s what we did when the light changed.
We got to the WinCo parking lot, secured Little Girl to a tree, went into WinCo, bought groceries, came back out, unpacked Little Girl. We stayed there 45 minutes to eat our lunch and take a short break from walking. As we were packing up, another Temecula police officer drove up and started asking the same questions as the prior two Temecula officers…”Where are you going? Where are you from? What are you doing walking around Temecula?”
I responded, “I am not going to talk to you.” I said that the Mules have the right to walk around Temecula and have the same right as he does or anyone else. He said he was not so sure we could walk around Temecula with a horse. I responded I was sure that the Mules could without question. I requested him to go away and leave us alone. The officer wouldn’t leave. We told him if he didn’t leave us alone, the Mules would arrest him and take him to jail.
I continued to pack up Little Girl when two Riverside County sheriff officers showed up. Once again, they started asking me the same questions. I gave them the same answers. The previous officer went over to talk to them and then they all left. Shortly after, we left as well.
In this country, the United States of America, the Mules have the same right to walk around town peacefully going about our business whether to the supermarket to buy food, the hardware store to buy supplies, the doctor or dentist for medical care, the post office to send and receive mail, the gas station to buy gas, or a shady tree to eat our lunch and listen to the birds sing. There is no reason for police to constantly ask us where we’re going, where we are from, what we are doing.
I asked the officers why they were here. They said that they got a call. We asked who called and they responded that they didn’t know. The police are letting trolls dictate their policy and/or using the guise of “a call” to stop and question us. Anonymous people are calling and stating things that aren’t true and making unsubstantiated claims about the Mules as these trolls also do on the internet. The police are letting these trolls operate their department.
All human beings and animals on earth require four bare and basic necessities to survive and sustain life…Air, Water, Food, Rest. Restricting access to these basic necessities of life to only those who travel by automobile is illegal and unconstitutional. A person traveling by foot with his/her animal companion must also have access to food, water, and rest. A state, county or town denying a pedestrian/equestrian access to these basic necessities is illegal, unconstitutional and inhumane.
The Public Thoroughfare is not a place for the exclusive use of the high speed automobile. The Public Thoroughfare is a place for all and many varied uses. People trading goods, ideas, talking freely to each other outside in the open air, making friends, stopping to rest/sleep, using their freedom to go where they want, when they want, how they want, trading stories with fellow travelers. The Public Thoroughfare was never intended to be a place exclusively for a high speed deadly machine. Less than 100 years ago before paved roads became prevalent throughout the United States, most Americans traveled by foot, mule, and horse.
The Mules live this nomadic way of life because it is in our bones. This way of life goes back thousands of years. It’s where we want to be. Being anywhere else makes no sense to us. So we stay with the mules and way of life that we have been living for over 31 years. As you walk in this place with these mules, you spread the awareness that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time.