Kentucky farmer denies mistreating horses after 49 dead animals found

A Kentucky farmer says the emaciated and dead horses found by Animal Control officers had been given to him by people unable to feed them.
By Frances Burns  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:13 AM
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BUTLER, Ky., April 9 (UPI) -- A Kentucky farmer who faces criminal charges after 49 dead horses were found on his property has denied mistreating animals.

Investigators said that 14 of the 32 live horses on Larry Browning's farm in Butler -- in the Bluegrass region of northeast Kentucky -- appeared to be underfed and were removed Monday. Animal Control officers went to the farm after an anonymous tip about a dead horse.

Browning, who said he has been raising horses for 50 years, blamed the emaciated horses on people who cannot feed their animals and drop them off at his place.

“When they drop them off and they're extremely thin, emaciated, I get them fat again,” Browning told WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. “They’d be thanking me instead of complaining, but I do get them fat again and then resell them."

Kathy Rice, a neighbor, said Browning has been in business for a long time.

"Any horse that I have bought from him has been healthy, strong and everything,” she said.

But Pendleton County Judge/Executive Henry Bertram said Browning was required by law to report all horses left at his farm. Browning is scheduled to appear in court next week to answer charges of animal cruelty.

Animals' Angels Inc. said they found more than 100 horses at the farm in 2011 that were “very thin, emaciated, lethargic and coughing,” many of them kept in an area covered with manure. But a Kentucky Department of Agriculture inspector found the group's charges were "unfounded," and the investigation ended.

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