Skip to content

Reward Raised For Horse Poisoning Information

As reported by Debbi Baker of the San Diego Union Tribune

SAN DIEGO — A reward leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever left a mix of food containing toxins for 23 show horses at a Rancho Santa Fe ranch has been upped to $12,500, officials with the Humane Society of the United States announced Tuesday.

The society added $2,500 to the $10,000 already being offered by Rockridge Farm owners Bill and Debbie Tomin, who run the 10-acre boarding and training facility that houses about 30 American Saddlebreds.

One of the animals sickened by the toxins, a 14-year-old gelding named Forever Aptor, remains hospitalized, but veterinarians said he is making progress and may be released Thursday, Debbie Tomin said.

"He's finally getting better today," she said.

Someone came onto the property last week and fed the animals oleander leaves mixed with cut-up apples and carrots. Two pregnant mares were among the animals fed the toxic leaves.

Oleander is one of the most toxic substances horses can ingest and can cause cardiac arrest if not treated promptly. Symptoms include sweating, pawing and stomach pain, Tomin said.

When workers went into the barn Thursday morning about 6 a.m. they found one of the horses already down.

Three had to be rushed to an equine hospital in Bonsall, and all required testing to see if their hearts were damaged.

All of the horses except Forever Aptor have recovered, and blood tests that came back Tuesday showed that none suffered any heart damage, Tomin said. The pregnant mares and their unborn foals, due in February, do not appear to have suffered any damage, she said.

The Humane Society of the United States decided to add to the reward offered in the case because of the nature of the crime.

"The apparent deliberateness of this heinous act against more than two dozen vulnerable animals is disturbing," Jennifer Fearing, senior state director of the organization, said in a statement. "Those who abuse animals can be dangerous to people, and Americans have no tolerance for violence against the creatures who share our world."

Tomin said that there are still no suspects in the poisoning and that she and her husband have no idea why someone would do such a thing. They are installing a sophisticated security system in the ranch, which they've owned for 30 years.

"I want to be able to sleep at night," Tomin said.

Sheriff's deputies are investigating the case and asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Tomin has also set up an e-mail address – – for anyone who would like to send her information.

More Stories

  • Sunday Night Excitement

    With the Junior Exhibitor Park class being split, 14 events were held on the Sunday evening session, which started at 6:30 p.m. with the ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Fine Harness class. That class gave the general spectators their thrill for the night as Debbie Foley lost a wheel on her buggy and the horse got loose momentarily. Everything ended okay but she could not get everything back together in the allotted time.  Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard

    Saddle Horse Report is pleased to present the New REPORT Leaderboard winners which tabulates the leading trainers and sires, both within the American Saddlebred and Hackney Pony classes, at the 2017 World's Championship Horse Show through the end of classes on Sunday, August 20. Read More
  • Sunday Matinee Highlights From WCHS

                The second session of the 2017 World’s Championship Horse Show got underway at noon on Sunday with 15 classes, namely four splits of the Adult Show Pleasure class, older age group equitation classes, open park qualifiers, amateur road pony and horse classes, gaited ponies and an amateur gentlemen’s long-tail class. Read More
  • Honor Society

    Kathy Humphries and Honor Society were reserve in Sunday afternoon’s Amateur Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony class. Longtime friend and trainer Myra Williams worked it out for them to become a team and move to Majestic Oaks to pursue Kathy’s dream of showing her pony at Louisville under the Campbell’s direction. Read More
  • Instant Connection

    A last minute substitution turned out great for Jordyn Isgrigg and Reedann's Fantastic Design. Read More
  • Opening Night At The World's Championship Horse Show

            The 114th World’s Championship Horse Show got underway Saturday night, August 19 with 89 teams competing in the opening session. As tradition dictates it was County Fair night with seven championships held. Rich and Maureen Campbell’s Majestic Oaks won all three pony classes with Maureen driving Regal’s Norma Jean LF, Regal’s Prime Rate LF and Heartland Infinity to the roses. Read More
  • Latest Issue Aug 21 17

    Read More
  • AMHA Regional Shows to Continue

    The AMHA Board of Directors voted at its August 12 third quarter meeting to continue the Regional Show Program with changes to its criteria beginning with the 2018 show season... Read More
  • 2017 Land Of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeder’s Award – Paul Briney

    Paul Briney of Chatham, Illinois, has ben a strong advocate for purebred equine in the State of Illinois for over 50 years. He was instrumental in the development of the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois (HCI) established in 1982... Read More
  • Portrait of Dabora Founder

    A portrait of David L. Howard, founder of Saddle Horse Report, was hung today at the Dabora offices in Shelbyville, Tenn., to honor his memory. Howard passed away unexpectedly in December of 2016... Read More