Judge rules Borells have no claim to abandoned horses in Mercer County

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MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Mercer Circuit Court judge ruled that Charles Borell and his daughter, Maria, no longer own 42 horses found abandoned on a Mercer County farm in June.

Judge Darren W. Peckler ruled in a lawsuit brought by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the Mercer County Fiscal Court in September asking the circuit court to order that the Fiscal Court owns the horses and may sell, donate, or otherwise transfer ownership of the horses.

"We are pleased that this ruling resolves the question of ownership of these horses," Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. "I want to commend our state veterinarian's office team, Mercer County elected officials, and members of the Thoroughbred community who stepped up to provide urgently needed care."

Charles Borell relinquished his ownership claims in the horses in connection with an Alford plea to nine counts of second-degree animal cruelty back in September. The ruling by Judge Peckler says Maria Borell has not asserted a claim to the horses.

The state will return six of the horses to their previous owners, and they will relocate the remaining 36 animals to permanent homes. Veterinarians had to euthanize one of the horses in early October due to a neurological ailment.

Judge Peckler's ruling has not resolved the portion of the lawsuit that asks the court to order the Borells to pay costs incurred by Fiscal Court and numerous businesses and individuals who have contributed to the upkeep of the horses.