Crime

Nicholasville horse owner faces animal cruelty complaints

Nicholasville resident Jenny Hasson said this Dec. 15 photo depicts ribs showing on a horse owned by Paul Schember.
Nicholasville resident Jenny Hasson said this Dec. 15 photo depicts ribs showing on a horse owned by Paul Schember.

A Jessamine County horse owner faces complaints of animal cruelty after he allegedly abandoned a gelding and filly on property that didn’t belong to him.

Paul Schember, 70, also is accused of leaving the horses in a trailer parked in front of his Nicholasville home for more than 24 hours last month.

Schember declined comment on the criminal complaints Friday when a reporter went to his home, but he said the horses are now in Bourbon County and are doing fine.

Frank Ruggiero, deputy director of Jessamine County Animal Care and Control, filed criminal complaints Friday against Schember.

According to one complaint, Schember violated a county ordinance on Dec. 21 when he abandoned the horses on private property on Sulphur Well Road without the owner’s consent.

The other complaint alleges Schember had the animals “on a small two-horse trailer, parked in front” of his Pin Oak Drive house for more than 24 hours in late December.

Earlier in the week, a private citizen swore out another complaint alleging that Schember has neglected the two horses since September.

That complaint filed by Jenny Hasson of Nicholasville alleges that Schember illegally put the horses on two different properties in Jessamine County without the property owners’ knowledge.

“This whole thing is like a huge mess,” Hasson said in an interview. “This guy keeps dumping horses on people’s property all over Jessamine County.”

In one instance, the horses were put in a barn and they were without water or hay, the complaint says.

“You can see all the gelding’s ribs,” Hasson’s complaint alleges.

Hasson said she and a friend got permission from the barn owner to check on the animals. Hasson said she met Schember when he approached the friend about transporting the horses to a new location.

Jessamine District Court records indicate that Schember’s problems started in June, when Alexander Schuster wrote in a complaint that he had terminated a horse-boarding contract because Schember owed $1,120. Nevertheless, Schuster said Schember continued to keep one horse on Schuster’s property in late June after the contract was terminated in May.

Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor in Kentucky. Animal rights activists have called for the charge to become a felony, but at a November committee meeting legislators expressed reservations about making that change.

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