Friday, August 9, 2013


Three Horses Seized in Animal Cruelty Case , Three Charged
MADISONVILLE, Ky. (7/26/13) – In response to a complaint received in the Hopkins County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, three defendants have been charged with Cruelty to Animals 2nd Degree and four horses seized.

The Hopkins County Attorney’s Office was made aware that at least one horse was being neglected at property located on Randall Drive in Madisonville. Karey Roy Deardorff, Assistant Hopkins County Attorney, has worked closely with investigators over the last 72 hours to get these horses into the protective custody of the Hopkins County Humane Society.

“As both a prosecutor and a board member of the Hopkins County Humane Society, I take animal cruelty cases very seriously” stated Deardorff.

In late 2010, the Hopkins County Attorney’s Office prosecuted a case in which 13 horses were found to be severely neglected on the same Randall Drive property. “Due to the history of these defendants, our primary focus is for the safety of all the horses on the property” said Deardorff.

Earlier today, she met with a Hopkins County District Judge to request not only seizure of the horse on the property which shows immediately signs of neglect, but further requested that the Hopkins County Humane Society be allowed to seize all horses on the property.

If you are interested in fostering please contact the Hopkins County Humane Society at 270-821-8965.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Robin Murray (Hopkins County Attorney’s Office)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Horse caretaker, owners arrested for neglect for second time


For the second time in two years, a horse caretaker in Hopkins County, and the horses owners are being charged with animal cruelty.  

Caretaker Kathleen Dickson and owners Rob and Bonnie Ryder were charged back in August 2011 after 13 horses were seized from a ranch on Randall Road in Madisonville.

On that same property, Dickson was taken away by authorities again on Friday.

Police and Hopkins County Animal Control Officers have seized four horses from a home in Hopkins County. This is the same home where 13 horses were seized in 2011.

Officials arrived at 11 a.m., assessed the scene, unlatched the privacy gate, and took control of horses.  They say they're in poor condition and getting worse.

Kathleen Dickson, the caretaker and owner of two of the horses, was home when officials arrived on Friday. Dickson stepped aside as professional seized the horses and Dickson was arrested.

"As a prosecutor and a board member for the Hopkins County Humane Society, I take animal cruelty cases very seriously," says Karey Ray Deardorff.

Dickson, along with owners Rob and Bonnie Ryder, will each face one count of second degree cruelty to animals.

"It makes me furious that these people just kept doing it" says Patricia Sadler "They've kept doing it and they feel like they're above the law, that they can keep doing it."

Officials say a vet had visited the residence and evaluated the horses on an 8-point scale: 1 being grave and 8 obese.

One of the horses scored a 2.5, and the rest scored a 3-4.

"We've had a vet come out do a professional assessment of body condition and it's unfortunate that some people would allow an animal to get in that type of shape," says Charles Gentry.

14 News will continue to keep you update on the condition of the horses as they travel to a new residence in Morton's Gap.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Alleged horse neglect investigated on Woodford farm

 Published: July 2, 2013

 Officials with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Woodford County Animal Control are investigating an alleged case of neglected horses on property leased to once-prominent international trainer Wayne Murty on Old Frankfort Pike.

The 42-acre site in Woodford County is part of the former Hopewell Farm, which is in receivership and is scheduled to be auctioned July 16. In preparation for the auction, receiver Tim Cone obtained court authority last week to force tenants to leave.

On Monday, Cone said, he found the animal investigators at the farm. Cone said he is trying to sort out exactly what happened and could not say how many horses might be involved.
"I think maybe they had to put one down," Cone said. "It's not pleasant."
Murty did not immediately return a call for comment.

Woodford County Animal Control officials declined to elaborate because the case is open. State veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout could not be reached immediately for comment.
Woodford County Attorney Alan George said he will meet with animal control officers Wednesday to review the investigation. A decision about whether any charges will be filed might be made later this week.

Hopewell Farm, which was owned by Thoroughbred breeder Rick Trontz, once stood prominent stallions including Skip Away, Royal Anthem, K.O. Punch and others. The entire 587-acre farm, which is near WinStar and Three Chimneys farms, has been listed for $14.7 million. Skip Away died in 2010.

Animal Neglect Investigation Underway In Woodford County

 Posted: Jul 2, 2013 3:54 PM

Investigators are checking out reports of neglect on a central Kentucky farm, where some horses had to be euthanized.

The open investigation is unfolding at Hopewell Farm in Woodford County. Investigators tell LEX 18 that nearly two dozen horses were found in deplorable conditions, living in stalls filled with feces. The animals also appeared to be very malnourished, and two of them have been put down.

Woodford County Animal Control and the State Agriculture Department received complaints about the farm Monday. It's being leased by the owner of the horses, which are in the process of being moved since the farm is for sale.

The owner of the horses declined to comment. At last word, no charges had been filed in this case.



UPDATE 07/26/2013:

Men Involved In Animal Neglect Investigation Arrested

Police have arrested two men at the center of an animal cruelty investigation in Woodford County.

Duane and Wayne Murty said they were not to blame for the condition of the horses.
Vets had to put two of the animals down.
The Murtys blamed the horses bad health on a toxic weed called creeping buttercup.
They said an equine expert told them the weed was poisoning their horses.
The men moved their remaining horses to a farm in Bourbon County.

Animal Control officers investigated after receiving complaints of malnourished horses on the property earlier this month.

Wayne Murty admits the stalls in the barn were full of manure. He says they were feeding them hay and grain trying to keep the horses away from the toxic weed.

Police arrested Duane and Wayne Murty Thursday and charged them with second degree cruelty to animals, according to the Woodford County jail website.

Woodford County brothers plead not guilty to animal cruelty
Published: July 30, 2013 
 VERSAILLES — Twin brothers have each pleaded not guilty to seven counts of second-degree animal cruelty in Woodford County after emaciated horses were found to be in their care.
Otis Wayne Murty, 77, and his twin brother, Anson Duane Murty, entered not guilty pleas Monday in Woodford District Court. They are scheduled to appear again before Judge Vanessa Dickson on Aug. 19 after they have hired attorneys.
According to an arrest warrant filed in Woodford County, the brothers "jointly had charge" of about 30 horses, including mares and foals, at Hopewell Farm near Midway.
 On July 1, complaining witness Susan Jones said she found 24 horses in a barn and five foals in paddocks outside the barn. Five horses were "observed ... to be in an obviously unhealthy state."
In addition, a 2-year-old filly was found "down and dying in the barn," and another 2-year-old filly, "found back out of sight on the property," was found to be down and dying.

"Both horses were deemed not saveable by a veterinarian" and were humanely euthanized, the warrant says. "Necropsy reports indicated that these two horses were emaciated at the time of death."
One of the other five sickly horses was found dead July 10 after it was moved to Bourbon County, the warrant says

Wayne Murty and his brother "each had said that a vet had recommended that this horse should have been humanely euthanized months ago, but they simply could not bring themselves to do so," the warrant says.

The remaining horses were put under quarantine, and their conditions are being monitored."Each defendant accepted responsibility to the daily care of the horses," although Wayne Murty acknowledged that he was in charge, the warrant says. Duane Murty was living in a trailer on Hopewell Farm.
The two brothers were arrested July 25. Duane Murty was released from the Woodford County jail after posting bond, but on Tuesday afternoon, the jail website showed that Wayne Murty was still incarcerated.
Wayne Murty, a once-prominent international trainer, told the Herald-Leader earlier this month that the horses became sick after consuming a toxic weed called creeping buttercup.
Hopewell Farm, former home to 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away, was sold at auction on July 16.
Second-degree animal cruelty is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.
Twin Brothers Make Unusual Court Appearance In Woodford County Animal Cruelty Case
It was supposed to be an in and out court appearance, but the arraignment of twin brothers in Woodford County on animal cruelty charges turned into an attempt to plead their case Monday.

From the beginning, 77-year-old brothers Wayne and Duane Murty seemed confused about what usually happens during their first court appearance. "Just listen to me now," the judge said. Duane then said, "I plead not guilty." To which the judge said, "Will you listen to me first?"

Both brothers were arrested and charged with seven counts of animal cruelty stemming from allegations that animal control officers found 24 of the 30 horses in a barn living in stalls filled with dirty hay and feces. Two horses had to be put down.

"Did you read your complaint and understand those charges?" asked the judge. "I know what the paper says," said Duane. "I don't agree with it."

Both brothers also disagreed about their bond. Prosecutors say they had a hard time tracking them down, due to the fact they've been living in a camper that moves from place to place.

At one point, Duane said to the judge, "Excuse me, what did you say honey?" The judge replied, saying, "I said your risk level, I'm not honey. Your risk level is low moderate." Brother Wayne's risk level was even higher. Both have a few failure to appear charges on traffic related charges in Fayette County.

"Do you think I won't show up for the court date?" asked Wayne. "I don't know if you will or not," said the judged. To which Wayne replied, "C'mon. Our whole life's work is wrapped up in those horses."

Wayne Murty has told LEX 18 previously that the horses health declined because of a poisonous weed on the farm.


Thursday, April 11, 2013


McCracken Man Cited for Animal Cruelty
Published 05:45 AM, Thursday Apr. 11, 2013

MCCRACKEN CO, KY - A McCracken Man has been cited for animal cruelty, after authorities seized two adult horses they say were emaciated and neglected.

According to the Paducah Sun, the horses were taken after calls to animal control described them as starving and lethargic. McCracken County Animal Control Director Chryss George told the Paducah Sun that when she got to the Chapel Road property, the horses were in their stalls and George said it appeared they had been treated poorly.  Both of the horses appeared to be very emaciated, according to George.

George cited horse owner Donald Peck for cruelty to animals. The animals were then taken into county custody. Peck said he had been allowing a friend to care for the horses.

The Sun reports Coda and Moriah spent the rest of Wednesday eating hay and oats in their stalls.

A date for Peck's court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

Friday, April 5, 2013


Investigation Continues In Possible Scott County Animal Cruelty Case

Posted: Apr 1, 2013 5:49 PM    

A man now at the center of an animal cruelty case in Scott County says some people have it all wrong, but others are saying he has a history of cruelty to animals.

Ginger Swartz says when she saw the story on LEX 18 last week on Tommy Browning and his horses in Scott County, she wasn't surprised to learn he was under investigation again for possible neglect after neighbors reported their concerns to deputies.

"We had pictures of horses," said Swartz. "I had state police out there he gets a slap on the hand and here we are again."

In 2009, Swartz was president of the Bath County Humane Society when she went to authorities over what she called grossly thin and neglected horses under the care of Browning at the time. "We're not talking 4 or 5 horses at this point," she said. "I'm talking 120 horses that were very thin."

Swartz says she documented pictures of the horses, and Browning was charged with cruelty to animals second-degree for failing to provide adequate food for the horses. Two years later, a Bath County court dismissed the charge.

Browning told LEX 18 over the phone Monday that the horses come to him in bad condition. He says he takes the horses the stock yards can't sell and tries to fatten them up to use as nursing mares or sell them once they are healthier. It's a claim Swartz doesn't buy, and she's waiting to see what Scott County authorities will do

To date, Browning is not facing charges in the Scott County case.

LEX 18


Thursday, February 28, 2013


McCracken Man Faces Animal Cruelty Charges
Updated 12:34 PM, Monday Feb. 25, 2013

This neglected horse was reported to law enforcement and resulted in the arrest of Chad Phillips on animal cruelty charges.<br>PHOTO:McCracken Co. Sheriff's Department

PADUCAH, KY - An investigation by McCracken County Animal Control has led to the arrest of a McCracken County man on charges of animal cruelty.

A search warrant was obtained Thursday afternoon to search property on Bonds Road in southern McCracken County belonging to 28-year-old Chad A. Phillips.This after animal control responded to complaints of a neglected horse.

Officers discovered the horse, reportedly emaciated and tied to a log with no access to food, water, or shelter. Additionally, multiple dead chickens were located in the yard, in cages and other locations on the property. A dead calf was located in a stock trailer.

The horse was seized by animal control and taken to a secure location for treatment. The calf was removed by the county road department.

Phillips was arrested on five counts of second-degree animal cruelty and taken to the McCracken County Regional Jail.



More Than A Dozen Horses Rescued From A Garrard County Farm
Posted: Feb 27, 2013 7:06 PM     


More than a dozen horses had to be rescued from a Garrard County farm from, what one animal rescue group called, a catastrophic situation.

This started yesterday when animal control, a vet and others received calls about horses not being cared fro properly.

LEX18 is told it got so bad they had to euthanize a couple of the horses right away
LEX 18 cameras were rolling as the rescue was underway, loading 13 of the horses into trailers.
Garrard County Animal Control says about four of the horses died on the property from malnutrition and starvation.

The person who owned the horses told officials he fell on hard times and was trying to do the best he could to care for the animals.

Buckland Equine Rescue was the re and said this is a problem they are hearing more of lately. They'd like to hear from people struggling to take care of their horses sooner rather than later.
"It's much harder for us to do our job then. If you call and say 'hey I'm in trouble, I need to get rid of them,' it lets us set up to find places before they get into trouble," said Chris Takacs from Buckland Equine Rescue. "The problem, you see, here nobody got in touch with anybody that could help them out."

This case is still under investigation by Garrard County Animal Control. They say once the rescued horses are back up to health they'll be ready for adoption


Monday, February 25, 2013


Sixteen dead horses, a dead donkey and numerous dead dogs, cats and chickens were found in a barn on a Woodford County farm Monday afternoon.

The farm at 1975 Woodlake Road is leased by Cheryll Jeffers, who also goes by the last name Ford, said Sgt. Keith Broughton of the Woodford County Sheriff's Department.

Woodford County animal control officers, the sheriff's office and representatives of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture visited the farm about 3:30 p.m. and found the animals.

Broughton said it was unclear whether Jeffers would face charges.
"We're still in the investigative stage," he said.

Broughton said the animals "were all in various stages of decomposition," including some that were skeletonized or mummified.

"Some of them have been dead for several months," he said.

In addition to the dead animals, there were about 15 horses and "numerous" cats, chickens and dogs on the property.

Broughton said a local farm had donated hay for the horses.

"They probably are a little bit neglected," he said, adding that water was being taken from the house on the property to the horses because there was no running water to the barn.

He said Jeffers had agreed to turn over the dogs to animal control officers, who were taking them to the Woodford County animal shelter.

Broughton said Woodford County Animal Control was in charge of the investigation.


Woman Pleads Guilty In Woodford County Animal Cruelty Case
Aug. 05, 2013

A woman accused in a Woodford County animal cruelty case has pleaded guilty.

Cheryl Ford was charged with second-degree animal cruelty after authorities found 16 dead horses, along with dead dogs, chickens and donkeys at a farm off Woodlake Road in Midway. Ford surrendered about 50 dogs and cats to authorities.

In the plea deal, Ford pled guilty to four counts animal cruelty second degree and two counts of failure to dispose of a carcass. She was sentenced to six months jail time, with 90 days served in jail and the remainder on home incarceration. Ford's attorney claims she's not medically able to stay in jail.

Ford's attorney says she's a woman who got in over her head after a nasty divorce and couldn't care for herself... much less the animals.

Ford will be on probation for two years, and is not allowed to own animals during her probation.

Formal sentencing in the case is set for September.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


UNION CO., KY (WFIE) -                                     

Two horses were found dead near a creek in Union County late Monday night, and right now, authorities are not sure who dumped them there. 
The horses were found in the Highland Creek area, just off Kentucky 360 near the community of Hitesville.
On Tuesday, a member of a local saddle club tells 14 News, many residents are unsure of who to contact when they discover a situation like this one.
"This just, this is awful," Jarrad Rudd said. 

Union County resident Jarrad Rudd belongs to a local saddle club and says, Tuesday morning, he was fielding a lot of calls from concerned residents who saw the two ponies, one of those, not completely intact late Monday night.

"People here don't want to treat their horses like this. I didn't understand what happened to them. They looked like they were well cared for," Rudd said.

Rudd tells 14 News that he put in a call to the state veterinarian, but with no animal control in the county, he wasn't sure who was responsible for taking care of the situation.
14 News called Judge-Executive Jody Jenkins who says he hadn't heard about the horses.
"It was obviously careless and reckless on whoever that animal owner was," Jenkins said.

Jenkins tells 14 News that he contacted the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and their employees came to check out the scene.

Jenkins says he's never seen anything like this in Union County.

Animal lovers like Rudd are just hoping nothing like this happens again.
"What's happened here, we don't understand it," Rudd told 14 News.

The judge-executive says if residents see something like this in the future, they can contact his office or the sheriff's office.


Update 02/10/2013:

According to locals, the owner of the two dead horses is known and he currently has another horse starving on his property. Picture that was taken of the starving horse:

Sunday, January 13, 2013



State senator cited for violating Horse Protection Act


Published: January 12, 2013


A high-profile walking horse proponent and padded horse rider, Kentucky state Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, has suffered an equine black eye.

At the North Carolina Walking Horse Association championships in October, Webb was cited for violations involving two horses. 

"Senator Robin Webb Busted" read the headline Dec. 4 on an anti-soring blog called "For the Tennessee Walking Horse." 

According to the USDA's database of Horse Protection Act violations, Webb was ticketed for violating the "scar rule," which establishes criteria to look for certain scars on the horse that are considered evidence that a horse has been "sored" and is ineligible to compete. Webb, as owner, was cited as a responsible party for two horses, Air Force One and Showstopper.

In an interview last week with the Herald-Leader, Webb denied soring either horse and said she did not see anything wrong with the animals at the time of the competition.
"I don't sore my horses," Webb said. "I love my horses, and my horses love me."
She said Showstopper is a young horse whom she bought not long before the show; Air Force One is a prize-winning horse she has ridden in shows for years without incident, including a week after he failed the inspection.
"They were turned down on a scar rule and sent back to the barn," she said. "The scar rule is very subjective."

She said she did not appeal because she never received paperwork on either violation and, as far as she knows, she was not suspended.

Her trainer, Donald Stamper of Richmond, also was cited. Stamper confirmed Webb has horses in his barn but said he did not recall the incident. 

"Where was this at, now?" Stamper asked in response to a reporter's question. He hung up when asked for comment on his role.

Webb also has been a vocal opponent of federal legislation, filed by U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, to ban the use of pads and chains, called "action devices," on horses.
"The Whitfield bill is extreme," Webb said last week.

Whitfield said in a statement Friday that his bill "eliminates the self-policing system currently employed, allowing for a more uniform enforcement. ... It is far from 'extreme,' which is why it carries the support of the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and numerous others."

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered at the Kentucky Horse Park, has said the ban is necessary to end soring. 

Dr. René A. Carlson, president of the American Veterinarian Medical Association, said in June that her group is asking for a ban on "the use of action devices and performance packages in the training and showing of walking horses, because they appear to be facilitating soring."

The U.S. Equestrian Federation, also headquartered at the Horse Park, also does not allow the use of action devices in the show ring.

At the annual meeting of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association in December, Webb criticized the AAEP and other veterinary groups who have called for a ban, dubbing them "agenda-driven entities."

Webb was honored by Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association as its 2012 Performance Horse Ambassador for her participation in USDA discussions.

Last week, Webb told the Herald-Leader that the Tennessee walking horse has been "demonized," particularly in light of a video, shot by an undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States, showing top walking horse trainer Jackie L. McConnell abusing horses in his Tennessee barn. 

Webb said the footage, in which McConnell was shown striking tied-up horses in the face, was taken out of context.

"You don't know what happened five minutes before or five minutes after. ... These are animals that are very dangerous," Webb said. "Every breed has training techniques that animal-rights groups find offensive." 

Read more here: