The case of 43 abandoned horses might be headed toward a resolution.
Mercer County Attorney Ted Dean confirmed Thursday that he has proffered a plea deal to the attorney for Charles “Chuck” Borell, who is charged with 43 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.
The plea deal was mentioned in passing during a pretrial conference Thursday before Mercer District Judge Jeff Dotson. Borell, 69, who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., did not attend the proceeding.
After the hearing, Dean said he could not discuss the terms of the possible deal. But Dean said if Borell and his attorney, Larry Catlett, reject the deal at a Sept. 29 hearing, then a trial date would be scheduled.
Catlett declined to speak about the case after the pretrial conference. But during the brief proceeding, Catlett said has received 740 pages of evidence and a thumb drive with photographs of the horses from Dean.
“I’ve not had time to go through it all,” Catlett told the judge.
Borell was charged in late June after 43 horses were found to be abandoned and in poor health on a Mercer County farm.
A warrant for Borell’s daughter, trainer Maria Borell, was also issued on 43 counts of second-degree animal cruelty. She is apparently not in Kentucky, and because the charges are misdemeanors, she cannot be extradited back to the state.
Meanwhile, the condition of the horses continues to improve, said E.S. “Rusty” Ford, equine program manager for the state veterinarian’s office in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Ford said the horses have been moved to 14 other farms and facilities in Central Kentucky, including Fayette, Scott and Bourbon counties. Ford said six horses are at Blackburn Correctional Center, where they are cared for by inmates in a vocational training program.
“Those horses have all gained weight and look to be bright, alert and have responded well to the care they have been given,” Ford said.
The care of the horses has been paid for by the Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and other groups and individuals.
Chuck Borell, meanwhile, remains free on a $4,300 bond. As a condition of his bond, he is not to have a caretaking role for any domestic animals, especially horses, according to court records.