Investigators Rule "Old Age" In Deaths Of Some Rowan Horses

MOREHEAD, KY -- An investigation into 31 dead horses found on a Rowan County farm has found about two-thirds died of old age, while the rest apparently from neglect, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.

Det. Gary Lanham of the Rowan County Sheriff's Department said Saturday that investigators are seeking another "person of interest" they want to interview in the case. And, he said, it now appears that many of the equine remains found on Don Miller's farm were those of horses that had been dead for some time, perhaps even dating back almost 30 years.

When investigators went to Miller's farm near Morehead last week, they found 11 dead horses in a barn and the remains of 20 more in a hollow on the farm. Another 24 horses were alive, but in varying physical condition. Miller told police he had been ill for the past year and unable to care for the horses, reports the newspaper.

But Lanham said Saturday that most or all of the 20 carcasses found in the hollow apparently had been there for years.

Lanham said that based on the paperwork Miller kept on his horses, it appears that some of those animals died in 1979 or in the early 1980s. the newspaper reports.

As of now, Lanham said, the focus is on the 11 dead horses found in the barn and what killed them. Officers hope to get a veterinarian's report by Tuesday, he said.

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to locate a man who, they hope, might shed more light on the case, reports the newspaper.

Miller told officers last week that he had assigned his 16-year-old son to look after the horses while he was sick. But Lanham said Miller has since told them that he also had a man coming by on weekends to check on the horses.

According to Lanham, the "person of interest" also was putting up an electrical fence on the farm, working off a debt he owed Miller. Lanham declined to identify him.

There's been no answer to phone calls to the man's home phone or cell phone, Lanham said. He said he hoped to locate the man on Monday.

So far, Don Miller has been charged only with violating state law on the disposal of animal carcasses, the newspaper reports .

Lanham noted that in earlier years it was not unusual for farmers to dispose of dead livestock by dragging the remains to some distant part of their property, leaving them to decompose or be eaten by scavengers, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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  • by Anonymous on Apr 13, 2008 at 07:52 PM
    If you dont have the money to bury your horses you can call someone to pick it up. Where I live we can have are horses pick up free of charge. So yes he needs to be charged you dont just leave a animal laying around. And for your FYI if a old horse is taken care of the right way then it will be health and fat and just fall over dead. I know for a fact that horses taken care of can live in to there 30 and 40. A horse that holds the world reacord was over 50
  • by the truth Location: wellington ky on Apr 13, 2008 at 04:56 PM
    the true story finely surfaced.we always try to make a criminal out of an innocent man thanks ky.
  • by wayne hudson Location: morehead on Apr 13, 2008 at 04:19 PM
  • by wayne hudson Location: morehead on Apr 13, 2008 at 04:17 PM
    when a horse dies, what are you suppose to do if you don't have the equipment to bury them with? this Det. Gary doesn't understand what farming is, evidently he must be rich in order to bury horse. When one of our animals dies we move him to the cliff, we don't have a dozer, and no one is willing to do it for free anyways! If everyone (County) is so worried about it, why don't they come and collect the carcass'! A man should be able to do what he pleases with his land and his animals, it should be no one else' concern! (with out inhumane ways that is)!
  • by lonewolf2 Location: eastern ky on Apr 13, 2008 at 03:14 PM
    well the truth hurts dont it people 20 died from old age serious abuse sounds like to me
  • by blah blah blah Location: kentucky on Apr 13, 2008 at 03:08 PM
    hmm 2 thirds died from old age sounds like a case of animal abuse there dont it lol donate to the old horse fund people sounds like a another good cause for you all to whine about
  • by Me Location: Ky on Apr 13, 2008 at 06:18 AM
    This is what happens when animal rights are put above humans. Two thirds could have died as far back as 30 years ago...The ones in the picture look malnourished, but that goes along with age.Bottom line if you are not going to or are not able to take care of an animal DON'T HAVE ANY!If you see you are running out of hay ect. load them up and sell them or give them away. Don't keep them hemmed up somewhere to starve.


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