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.


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