Animal Expert Says Grass Lake Horses Were Tortured

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Three of the 69 horses at Grass Lake Township's "Turn Three Ranch" were tortured; that from a veterinarian in court Wednesday. The Prosecution says it was not done intentionally, but they were neglected so bad it could be considered torture.

This during a hearing to determine if the ranch owners, Matt Mercier and James Henderson Jr., will go to trial for the alleged abuse and if they can keep their horses. Both men face three count of animal torture, a felony and one count of failing to provide adequate care, a misdemeanor.

In March, Jackson County Animal Control seized their ranch after they found a dead horse in the driveway.

At least three horses were severely emaciated, according to Richard Hammer, D.V.M. Hammer was hired by Jackson County Animal Control to evaluate the horses. He fully examined the four worst horses. "In my opinion, it was abuse," he said of the horses’ conditions.

The defense implied the ranch owners did provide proper care for the animals, just not to the "high standards" others may provide. They say animal control officers acted inappropriately.

The hearing continues Thursday.

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