One of the horses involved in the abuse investigation at Grass Lake Township's Turn Three Ranch was euthanized Wednesday. Lucky 7, a colt who was about one year old, had a non-treatable hip injury.
Less than one month ago, Jackson County Animal Control took control of the 69 horses at the farm saying they hadn't been fed or watered since the fall. The owners, James Henderson Jr. and Matthew Mercier, deny that and have pleaded not guilty to charges of animal abandonment and cruelty.
Dr. Judy Marteniuk, DVM, MS at Michigan State University's Large Animal Clinic examined Lucky 7 Wednesday. She says she could feel bones grating and he was in severe pain. "At this point and time it's difficult to tell whether it was something he was born with, an infection he had or more likely, trauma," Marteniuk says.
His injury was a long standing one, meaning he probably suffered through it for weeks or maybe months.
The Leelanau Horse Rescue is currently caring for the remaining 68 horse, 37 of which are pregnant. People have donated nearly $15,000 to care for the horses.
Dennis Hurst, the attorney for the ranch owners, maintains the horses were never harmed. "The horses were fine when animal control took control of the ranch just a couple of weeks ago. We're very concerned about why it is the animal was put to sleep while it was under the care and control of the animal control division."
The Jackson County Prosecutor's Office is now looking into the possibility of more changes now that this horse had to be put to sleep.