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      Possible horse neglect case being investigated

      Some Dickinson County residents are upset and angry about the condition of more than two dozen horses in the northern part of the county.

      Itâ??s been two weeks since the 30 emaciated horses were removed from a Khoury property in Sagola.

      Danette Johnson, who found the animals, is amazed at how much improvement the horses have made in two weeks. On June 24, she was driving on M-95 when she saw a few horses on the side of the road and called the authorities.

      â??When the deputy came, he helped us lure the horses off to the field, and they started walking up a dirt road. I told the deputy Iâ??ll follow them and see if I can secure them back into their fences,â?? says Danette.

      Thatâ??s when she discovered at least 20 more horses that she described as skin and bones.

      â??There was no food or water,â?? Danette says.

      Authorities contacted the Khoury family who owned the horses and asked them to turn them over. The owners cooperated and voluntarily surrendered the animals. Law enforcement then called Carrie Cramer, Director of Piperâ??s Rescue Ranch in Wallace, to pick up the horses.

      â??It was very shocking to see when you went there because it was completely dirt pastures, a lot of stumps,â?? says Carrie. â??No proper shelters, no food, and a lot of them were emaciated. I would say body scale, most of them were one to three and 10 being the best.â??

      Owners told authorities they have been feeding them everyday but that it was a low quality feed. When I mentioned this to Carrie she disagreed. â??The ones that looked a little bit on the healthier side were the group that was loose. The ones that were in the pastures hadnâ??t had food in awhile,â?? Carrie says. She says she sees situations like these often and thinks ordinances need to be reevaluated and made stricter to keep it from continuing.

      We attempted to contact the owners multiple times but received no answer. Sheriff Scott Celello says no charges have been filed yet, but the case is currently being reviewed. His deputies are waiting on reports from a veterinarian and the animal hospital. Once received, it will be submitted to the prosecutor.

      â??Prosecutor Brule or one of the other assistant prosecutors will review it and determine if charges are going to be filed or not,â?? says Sheriff Cellelo.

      Shelly Gunville was one of the volunteers who helped rescue the horses and is also friends with someone who adopted two of the animals and says she hopes authorities take action.

      â??From what I understood these people have had animals before and had them taken away,â?? says Shelly. â??I really donâ??t think that throwing them in jail and giving them a bunch of fines is the answer. I think the answer is not allowing them to have animals anymore.â??