Little Girl’s Annual Physical Exam Health Report

Pictured left to right: Zoe, Arlene, Jessica, and Andrea with Little Girl

On Monday morning, Little Girl received her annual physical exam. The Mules want to thank Arlene for arranging San Dieguito Equine Group team – Jessica (veterinarian), Andrea (Registered Vet Technician and dental care provider) and Zoe (vet assistant)- to come out to give Little Girl her check-up. Here is write up that we received after Little Girl’s exam:“Little Girl had a physical exam and she was found to be a healthy, bright and alert 28-year old Molly mule. She has a good appetite, healthy skin and body coat and has a good body condition score of 5/9 (normal). Her feet were in good shape and it’s apparent she receives regular farrier work. Her teeth were floated and equilibrated – she has amazingly good dental health for a mule her age and only needed moderate dental work. She was prescribed anti-inflammatories (like Advil) for two days after her dental work for preventative measure due to her older age.

Coincidentally, the same morning that Little Girl had her scheduled physical exam, The San Diego Union-Tribune published an opinion piece titled Homeless mule should not suffer owner’s bad choices.” The Letter to the Editor stated:

 Re “Traveler reunited with stolen mule in Escondido” (Feb. 26): I saw John Sears and his mule, Little Girl, Feb. 18 walking down Melrose Avenue. I drove by, my eyes on his overly burdened mule trailing behind him.
For those that may think his lifestyle is adventurous, I see it differently. Sears’ decision to live on the streets forces Little Girl to also do so, showing no concern for her well-being.
Later, coming out of a market on Melrose, there was Sears and Little Girl. I asked Sears about the weight she was carrying. I cringed when she kept picking up her back feet as we humans do when experiencing discomfort or pain. I looked into her face, such a sadness.
Little Girl is neither safe from Sears or from people who take her in the middle of the night. Glamorizing Sears and his way of life ignores the welfare of Little Girl.
Karen Bonadio

We sent the article to Andrea, the Registered Veterinarian Technician who cleaned Little Girl’s teeth. She sent us her response that she wrote the San Diego Union-Tribune about that opinion as she feels that it is important for people who don’t know anything about mules and horses to understand.
 Dear Union Staff:
I am hoping that you can post this in response to the opinion piece regarding the mule Little Girl and her owner.
I am a Registered Veterinarian Techinican that works at an equine veterinary practice here in the Escondido/San Marcos area. I work strictly with horses and have been doing so for over 15 years. I can understand where someone who does not have equid experience may see Little Girl and feel sorry for her. Myself as well as two of my colleagues were lucky enough to visit with Little Girl the other day for a vet health check up. She was given a general health check and she had her teeth floated and equilibrated. Mr. Sears had a lengthy conversation with the veterinarian regarding her health and other questions he had regarding her care.
I can tell you from first hand experience that from the examination we gave, Little Girl is a healthy mule for her age. She has a healthy body condition score, good feet (hooves) that receive regular farrier care, healthy skin and hair coat as well as a bright and content disposition. The owner is well educated on mule care and is very conscientious when it comes to the amount of weight she is asked to carry. She gets many breaks throughout a days travel and is cared for quite well.
I see other equids on a regular basis that are not in as good of shape that she is in. I hope that this insight helps those that are concerned understand the reality of the situation a little better and puts their minds at ease.
Kind Regards,
Andrea Shepley RVT

 The Mules also have a rebuttal to the San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece:
The Mules are not homeless. We’ve been wandering, living on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years. A stick structure is not what we seek. We seek spiritual connection to this earth, while living in balance, respect and reverence for all its inhabitants. Earth is our home. No matter how many editorials that are fired off, the Mules will not let loose of our sacred connection to this sacred place called Earth.
When Little Girl can no longer serve this place of one human being walking with his/her animal companions in one of all four directions, how we choose, when we choose, she will be retired into the nation, 3 Mules Nation, and live out her remaining years in by far better conditions than 90% of people living today.
The Mules

Share this:

San Clemente citation

Synopsis: On January 22, 2015 at 4am, the Mules were woken up by San Clemente police officer who told us that we could not sleeping in this vacant lot . He asked us when we would be leaving. We said we would leave when it was light and he said okay and left. About 8:30am, we continued our journey south on the El Camino Real when Little Girl started to show a light lameness in her front foot. As we continued, her limp became pronounced. To prevent further injury, we stopped at another vacant lot to inspect her foot, which was quite sensitive. We knew that we needed to seek help with someone with a horse trailer to bring her to an equine vet to get checked. Took the pack off the mules and started making phone calls, leaving messages to people I knew to seek help. None of our contacts were able to arrive that day (January 22) with a trailer.

About 9pm, San Clemente police officer arrived. We explained our circumstances as to why we were there and could not physically move due to Little Girl’s injury. The officer called animal control and we waited for quite a while before animal control showed up. Animal control officer took a very quick look at a distance, had Little Girl walk a few steps on soft dirt, and made a comment that Little Girl did not look lame to her, and then left. At that point the police officer decided to issue the citation based on her opinion.

The next day, friends arrived with a trailer to pick us up to bring us to San Juan Capistrano. We could not meet the vet immediately and rested Little Girl while we waited for our appointment on January 26. On January 26, San Juan Capistrano equine veterinarian Dr. Mark Secor gave Little Girl an exam, including x-rays. Dr. Secor wrote in his examination report: “Exam: mild LF lameness noted at walk, certain steps – tight circle to left more exaggerated, mild high lateral hoof well, mild ups DP’s, les palpates WNL. Moderate sensitivity to hoof testers… Suspect cause of lameness – resolving abscess.”

The Monk followed the instructions on the citation, submitted a check by the payment deadline and requested to contest citation via mail (submitting our letter and vet expert diagnosis with payment) instead of having an Administrative Hearing in person which would require mules to walk back to San Clemente. The Mules made several phone calls to request in regards to an appeal while we were nearby and was told that they were backlogged in processing citations. On March 2, we received a certified letter that stated “THIS IS THE SECOND HEARING DATE – IT CANNOT BE RESCHEDULE”.   The Mules never received a letter informing us about a date for a first hearing. Also, we sent Dr. Secor’s exam as evidence that Little Girl was lame. Hearing is scheduled for March 25. We cannot walk back to San Clemente due to our distance.

The Mules find it unreasonable for San Clemente to cite us and retain our $100 citation fee as we had a valid reason for why we could not PHYSICALLY leave town by walking due to Little Girl’s lameness in her foot. We were waiting for friends to come with a horse trailer to pick us up, which wasn’t available to arrive until the next day. We submitted written letter of appeal with veterinarian diagnosis confirming Little Girl’s lameness due to abscess in hoof. San Clemente rejected our written request for appeal and is requiring us to appear in person back in San Clemente on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 even though we have indicated that we will not be able to walk back due to our distance.  As well, after explaining how we live in our initial letter to San Clemente, it is unreasonable for the city to wait more than two months for an administrative hearing date when we called to inquire multiple times while we were within walking distance to appeal. San Clemente has not yet responded to our letter.

This is our letter that we sent with our $100 and request to appeal the citation via mail instead of in person. We included Dr. Secor’s diagnosis with this letter.

Vet diagnosis for Little Girl
This says this is the second notice, but this is the first Notice of Administrative Hearing that we received.
Share this: