March 5th, 2011
Man charged with felony animal cruelty in Mercer
The leader of a Mercer County horse rescue operation was arrested Thursday on felony animal cruelty charges involving 30 horses.
Richard M. Banks, identified as head of Central Kentucky Equine Rescue, was charged with 30 counts of first-degree animal cruelty after Mercer County Animal Control Officer David Quinn III alerted the sheriff’s office that horses on Banks’ property off of Shakertown Road were poorly cared for.
According to a sheriff’s department press release, the horses were “being malnourished and neglected” and some were living in “dangerous conditions.”
It appeared that several of the animals had not been fed for an extended period of time, the press release stated.
A visit to the property Saturday morning found about 30 horses still on the premises.
The animals were divided into three pens, each with access to a large round bale of hay.
Mercer County Animal Shelter employees had fed the horses.
One mare with a foal appeared especially emaciated. Her hip bone protruded several inches from her body and all of her ribs were visible.
Banks did not answer a knock at his residence at 1626 Shakertown Road on Saturday.
He also has a residence in Stanford, police said. He could not be reached for comment.
Banks was arrested Thursday night and was released Friday from the Boyle County Detention Center after posting a $5,000 cash bond.
First-degree animal cruelty is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. Deputy Scott Elder is investigating. More charges and additional arrests are possible. Along with Elder, Sheriff Ernie Kelty and Deputy Sean Brown assisted at the scene.