Friday, Mar. 27, 2009
Lexington man charged in animal cruelty case
Herald-Leader staff report
A Lexington man has been charged with second-degree cruelty to animals for allegedly not caring properly for about 60 horses on a Bath County farm.
Kentucky state police said that Tom Browning, 69, was lodged in the Montgomery County Detention Center on the misdemeanor charge on Friday after turning himself in to authorities.
Browning is accused of not been feeding the horses, which led to the deaths of some of the animals. The farm is located south of Salt Lick.
Seven horses were found dead on the property.
The Bath County Outlook reported that these horses are "nurse mares".
Nurse mares are bred to a stud to impregnate them. Upon foaling the mare is stripped from its young and taken to a thoroughbred horse farm to foster high priced foals while their mothers are sent to be re-bred.
The nurse mare foals are a bi-product of this industry; some find homes through rescues who are able to take them in, other aren't as lucky.
And so he got a slap on the hand:
Man accused of starving horses in court
A Lexington man accused of starving horses on a farm he leased near Salt Lick, in March 2009, had his charges placed on a pre-trial diversion and they will be removed from his record in two years if he follows the conditions of his pre-trial diversion order.
Veteran Kentucky State Police Trooper, Sam Hunt, arrested Tom Browning, 69, on March 27, 2009, following an investigation into horses allegedly starving to death at 2806 South Highway 211 (Mc-Clain Cemetery Road), located near Salt Lick.
Browning entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment on the charge, which was held in the weeks following his arrest.
Browning and his attorney, Honorable Michael Campbell, of Morehead, signed a pre-trial diversion order last week, on June 15.
Bath District Judge, Honorable Don Blair also signed the order.
There are several conditions that Browning must meet and adhere to in the next two years or the court may revoke or modify any conditions and/or reinstate the case for trial if Browning violates any of the conditions, according to court records.
Those conditions include:
Providing adequate feed, water and salt, for his horses on any property that he owns or leases in Bath County.
Browning will allow Nancy Gauze to check on the horses, twice a week, which he keeps at the Pergram Farm, where the alleged cruelty charges originated.
Browning will keep all sale bills and receipts from public stockyards to prove to the court evidence of when and where he obtains horses that he keeps in Bath County.
Browning must come to Bath County within four hours of any report of any horse being in distress and provide appropriate care for the endangered horse.
Browning will provide the Bath County Attorney with phone numbers to contact either he or his wife.
The Commonwealth has the right to have a veterinarian come to any farm on which Browning has horses in Bath County to check upon the horses and Browning must pay for any treatment that is rendered.
Browning, who lists his home address as being in the community of Stamping Grounds, near Lexington, has had run ins with the law in the past, in regard to animal problems, according to court documents. He has been charged with dogs running at large in Fayette County, in July 2007, and was charged with cattle running at large also in Fayette County in 2004, according to court documents.
Browning told Trooper Hunt on March 23, that he only had 30 horses on the McClain Cemetery Road property, but Trooper Hunt counted and
photographed 60 horses, according to court documents.
Trooper Hunt also noted on his complaint that he counted 17 rolled bales of hay in a barn.
For the next three days Trooper Hunt returned to the farm and the 17 rolled bales of hay were still in the barn and had not been fed to the horses, some of which allegedly became so hungry they began to eat on the carcasses of the dead horses that lay in the field, and which neighbors believed to have perished from starvation.
Hunt noted that there was no pasture available for the horses to feed on and there hadn't been any available since fall of 2008.
Browning posted $250 and was released from jail the same day he was arrested. As part of his bond conditions he had to provide Bath County Judge-Executive Carolyn Belcher with a feeding schedule and location of food.
"Mr. Browning does now appear to be feeding the horses, " Belcher said last year. Belcher said the Bath Animal Control Officer was closely monitoring the situation until its resolution in Bath District Court.