Abused Horses Returned To Owners

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

For more than a month Kim Hurst helped nurse dozens of malnourished horses back to health. But now, the Jessamine County Humane Society president is frustrated some of those animals are back with their owners.

We first told you about the raid at a Jessamine County farm back in March. Animal control officers seized 74 horses found in poor condition. Twelve days ago a judge allowed the farm owners to take 25 horses back a move that outraged the Jessamine County Humane Society.

"We took care of these animals for 30 days and spent thousands of dollars on them, then their owner's came in and just took the one's they wanted," said Kim Hurst.

Hurst admits it is becoming extremely difficult to find the funds to take care of the animals. They are still caring for six horses from a previous case.

"We just need some help, we can't continue to take on more animals without it," Hurst said. She goes on to say the real problem is irresponsible breeding and poor management.

"We've known for sometime the horse market isn't good, so if you can't afford to care for the animals you have, why would you continue to breed," Hurst said.

Hurst says the owners took 24 of the 74 horses, "They took the cream of the crop and left the county with the financial burden to find a home for the remaining horses," Hurst said.

The owners, who declined comment, were charged with 74 counts of animal cruelty. However, the courts said if the horses that were returned to them remain in a healthy state after one year, those charges will be dropped.

The Jessamine County Humane Society says a few years ago they faced a similar crisis and donations were five times more than what they've received this time.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bill on May 10, 2008 at 04:55 AM
    you want more forfeiture laws.when you see people having properity taken, for any reason the state wants, across Ky.No man or goverment should have forfeiture laws,in a free country.forfeiture is just a tool of Ky's something for nothing democrats.
  • by Goebel Location: Lexington on May 9, 2008 at 06:04 AM
    This is the dumbest thing I have heard in a long time. The owner should be bared from owning any animal.
  • by Ty Location: Frankfort on May 8, 2008 at 06:41 PM
    Where's PETA in all of this? They got all upset about one horse dying from what they called abuse, but they are silent when people who nearly starved 74 to death get those horses back? Activists do the darndest things.
  • by Teri Location: Richmond on May 8, 2008 at 01:34 PM
    This so called "judge" should have ordered the owner to either pay full restitution to the Humane Society for the care of the horses AND kept the fines and charges for each count of animal cruelty intact OR the owner should have forfeited ALL the animals to the Humane Society so they could adopt out the animals and attempt to recoup some of the thousands of dollars they spent....AND...the owner of the horses should be prevented from owning horses for two years. This is the STANDARD plea deal right now in Kentucky for horse neglect cases....the judge certainly went against the grain. Very unfortunate. It sounds like someone knew someone, in my opinion. The real problem is that animals are considered "property" under Kentucky law and there is no forfeiture laws in place "yet" for abused animals. Usually the owners are just fined heavily and ordered to pay the restitution so the owner surrenders the animals in effort to get a break on the fines in a plea. This owner got off escott free!
  • by Melissa Location: Lexington on May 8, 2008 at 12:57 PM
    Where is PETA for this case! I think that they are wasting their efforts in the wrong places, and they need to be focusing on where it really needs to be!
  • by Darlene Location: KY on May 8, 2008 at 12:16 PM
    To "Horse Owner" of KY. Defend the selfish people. I dont care what you or anyone else says, the system is messed up. I agree these people should first pay all cost back to the people who took care of HIS/HER animals becuse they couldn't and then they should have to proove that they can afford to feed and take care of other animals before having the poor horses back. Of course someone better be talking to the judge, seems he/she is as bad off as these people. Maybe they are all related someway or another!
  • by Ondine Location: Indiana on May 8, 2008 at 11:05 AM
    sierra got it exactly right. If these abusive owners can afford to care for the horses returned to them, then they can afford to reimburse the Humane Society for the costs to care for the other horses that were removed from their property. This is a ridiculous ruling that does not serve the best interests of the horses or the citizens of Jessamine County.
  • by sam Location: berea on May 8, 2008 at 10:29 AM
    People shouldn't be so judgemental of others. The owners shouldn't have to repay the humane society. We have laws that protect animals and we also have laws tht protect people. These people were not found guilty of any wrong doing. Remember, it's innocent until proven guilty. They are not guilty just because the media made it seem that way.
  • by Wow Location: NKY on May 8, 2008 at 10:09 AM
    Judge...that would be an oxymoron in this case. How can a judge be allowed to rule and judge these horses back to their original owners??? We need stronger animal rights in this state known for animals.
  • by sierra Location: lexington on May 8, 2008 at 09:01 AM
    Why isn't the owner being required to reimburse the Jessamine County humane society for the care and treatment cost of these horses. If this judge thinks they can now afford to properly care for 24 horses then they can afford to repay the humane society. I don't know what this judge was thinking, these nuts will probably try to breed the horses returned to them and in about 2 years the police and humane society will be right back out there rescuing poor animals again. Kentucky's law's on animal cruelty are absurd, it still amazes me that there were people who fought against "Romeo's Law". We need similar laws to protect our horses-the "Horse Capital of the World" should be ashamed that our laws and sadly our judges are so inadequate.
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