How To Help
Despite the fact that these horses and mules are on tribal land, you can still contribute to improving their lives. While their struggles have been decades in the making, SAVE, with the help of its supporters, accomplished more for these animals in 2016 than had been done in total prior to that. We will not cease our efforts until the pack animals are treated with the compassion they inherently deserve. We encourage you to support our mission in any way you can. Here are some ways to start:
Advocacy and Action
Advocates and supporters are critical to this cause, whether in the form of social media sharing, phone calls, emails, or news coverage. All of your efforts to spread awareness of this story and to demand action and accountability from the Tribe help to accomplish the mission of improving the lives of these animals. Here are some simple ways to do that:
- If you have testimony to share or would like to cover this as a news story, please email SAVE founder Susan Ash.
- Contact the following agencies to report any neglect or abuse that you witness as soon as possible and be specific about where you saw it:
- Havasupai Animal Control Officer: 928-448-2161
- BIA Office in Supai: 928-448-2892
- BIA Law Enforcement Unit in AZ: 602-379-6958 (ask them to not transfer you to the US Attorney's office in Flagstaff)
- BIA Washington: 202-208-5787
- US Postal Inspector A. Rivas: 928-526-9997 (to report welfare concerns specific to the pack animals transporting US mail)
- Review your experience on TripAdvisor.com to help educate future tourists.
- Contact the Tribal Vice Chairman, Edmond Tilousi at 928-812-4186 and ask why certain members of the tribe are allowed to participate in the packing business when they abuse their animals in the manner described in this testimony. Ask what the council's specific plan is to stop this abuse.
- Follow and share the cause on Facebook and Instagram.
While there's no denying that Havasu Falls has alluring beauty, please keep these things in mind if you go:
- Do not use the pack animals. While some of the horses, mules or donkeys may appear to be in decent condition, until there are standards of care for all pack animals in place and consistently enforced, there is no way to be sure that they are all getting adequate water, rest, shade, nutrition, or carrying a reasonable amount of weight. Additionally, newer animals are often rotated in to the string to replace ones that have died or are no longer usable. They may appear healthy at first, but it is almost certain that their condition will deteriorate significantly if they are worked regularly without adequate care.
PLEASE NOTE: Many outfitters will assure you that the animals they use are not abused. The fact is they have no way of verifying this, especially if the animals are subcontracted and not accounted for once your gear is dropped off at Hualapai Hilltop, where NO ONE oversees which animals are used, whether they are packed properly/within a weight limit, or their condition. Please do not use these complicit outfitters.
- If you must use an outfitter or tour guide, use only those who do not offer animal-assisted transport services, like BG Wild and Just Roughin' It. While SAVE would prefer that everyone hikes and packs in under their own power, you can use the helicopter service if necessary. Call Airwest Helicopters at 623-516-2790 for details.
- While you may not witness a pack animal being directly abused during your trip, it does not mean that they’re not being mistreated. SAVE has put together a checklist of things to watch for when visiting Havasu Falls, and what to do if you witness any neglect or cruelty.
- If you do witness animal abuse or neglect it is critical to document it with photographs, videos and/or witnesses as it is reasonable to do so. (Refer to this checklist for things to watch for.) Please report the abuse immediately to the Bureau of Indian Affairs officers stationed in Supai village.at 602-379-6958, or at the BIA Police Station located in the village behind the basketball court. Email any documentation to Susan Ash, founder of SAVE as well.
Because SAVE is not a 501(c)(3), we encourage you instead to donate to the organizations that have been instrumental in providing immediate and long-term care to rescued Havasupai pack animals.