Monday, July 18, 2011

Michigan county won't seize horses or prosecute owner for neglect, saying evidence is lacking

Allegan County, Michigan, like many other local governments, has been faced with budget cuts. Add to that complaints regarding 29 imported and supposedly starving mustangs, and you have a sheriff's office that is overwhelmed trying to make ends meet.

A rash of telephone calls and e-mails came from all over the nation in response to the Allegan County prosecutor's refusal "to bring charges against a woman accused of starving a herd of mustangs she had shipped to Michigan last winter," Parker reports Rosemary Parker of the Kalamazoo Gazette. (Gazette photo). "They fill up my voicemail and I leave it — there's not room for more," Allegan County Sheriff's Lt. Frank Baker told Parker. "I'm not returning the calls. They are from all over the United States and I don't have the time to contact every individual."

Prosecutor Fred Anderson told Parker, "After reviewing the case and meeting with sheriff's officers, the prosecutor's office determined we could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt to 12 jurors that there was animal neglect." In an attempt to help the horses without incurring huge costs, Anderson is pressing the owner to find new homes for the horses so the county does not have be financially responsible for their care. "Once you seize horses, you are 100 percent responsible for feeding and housing them, as well as seeking necessary veterinary care," Undersheriff Jim Hull told Parker. "This isn't fair to the taxpayers of Allegan County to take on such a huge burden because of one person's bad judgment." (Read more)

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