Dr. Clara Mason Named AAEP’s Good Works Recipient for August
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) salutes Dr. Clara Mason, the August honoree of the Good Works for Horses Campaign, whose commitment to at-risk horses in West Virginia has strengthened animal cruelty laws in the state and increased enforcement of equine cruelty and neglect cases.
Good Works for Horses honors AAEP-member practitioners who perform volunteer service to benefit horses and the equine community. Horse owners and veterinary professionals are encouraged to nominate AAEP members for this monthly recognition.
A year after receiving her veterinary degree from Mississippi State University in 1992, Dr. Mason opened her ambulatory veterinary practice in Winfield, W. Va., and soon became entwined in an equine cruelty case in which one horse was euthanized and two others rescued and rehomed.
That experience and the ensuing court case inspired Dr. Mason to work with state legislators to enact more stringent animal cruelty laws. Despite fortified laws, however, enforcement remained problematic due to limited resources among police departments and humane societies as well as a general ignorance of what horse abuse looks like.
Dr. Mason began educating sheriff’s departments in her region and serving as a guest speaker for several equine rescue organizations that host educational events for law enforcement. Dr. Mason typically speaks on the topics of dentistry, body condition and premises warning signs that should trigger further investigation. Attendees are provided gift bags that contain weight tapes, thermometers, body condition score charts and other tools to assist with equine cruelty cases.
She assists on-site with cruelty investigations once or twice per month, and typically appears in court once per month to aid with prosecution of such cases.
“Dr. Mason has been instrumental in aiding numerous county officials in equine neglect and cruelty cases for many years,” said her Good Works nominator Tinia Creamer, founder and executive director of Heart of Phoenix Rescue. “Her expertise has proven vital time and again to gaining justice for horses across West Virginia.”
Dr. Mason willingly shares her experience and knowledge with fellow practitioners. She has presented on the topic of prosecuting cases of equine abuse at the AAEP’s annual convention; and, while a member of the AAEP’s Welfare and Public Policy Advisory Council, she was part of a team that in 2018 created comprehensive online resources to help AAEP members work with clients and law enforcement to prevent equine abuse and neglect. Dr. Mason also serves as the AAEP’s representative to the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee.
Throughout 2019, the AAEP’s Good Works for Horses Campaign will spotlight AAEP-member practitioners whose volunteer efforts are improving the health and welfare of horses. To discover the Good Works of AAEP veterinarians or nominate a Good Works candidate, visit the AAEP website. For more information on nominating a veterinarian for this program, contact Giulia Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its over 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.
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