Mercer County and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture want a circuit judge to issue an order declaring that 43 horses found abandoned in June shall be sold, donated or transferred at the discretion of the county fiscal court.
State and local officials filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Mercer Circuit Court that says Charles “Chuck” Borell and his daughter, trainer Maria Borell, relinquished ownership in the horses when they were abandoned.
The suit also asks a judge to require the Borells to pay the costs incurred for the horses’ care. The agriculture department estimates that more than $20,000 has been spent on temporary care for the horses.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Mercer Circuit Court.
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On June 9, Deputy State Veterinarian Bradley Keough visited the Mercer County farm where the horses were located and found them to be without adequate food and water and with no caretakers present.
“Stall buckets and troughs were either completely empty or contained small amounts of dirty water that was contaminated with loose debris, algae and mosquito larvae,” the suit says. “High temperatures made the lack of clean water especially dangerous to the horses’ health.”
Keough found little or no fresh hay on the premises and declared that the owners had abandoned them based on his observations, the suit says.
At that point, the suit says, the Borells lost their right to the horses. The suit says the Borells “persist in purporting to claim ownership or other interests in the horses.”
Four other parties came forward to claim ownership in five horses. Other parties may intervene to claim interest in the animals.
Charles Borell faces 43 counts of second-degree animal cruelty in Mercer District Court. A warrant for Maria Borell was also issued on 43 counts of second-degree animal cruelty, but she he is apparently not in Kentucky, and because the charges are misdemeanors, she cannot be extradited back to the state.