Jackson County Now Owns Allegedly Neglected Horses

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

The charges are 5 pages long--a bill for four months worth of care for the 69 horses Jackson County Animal Control seized from the Turn 3 Ranch, and the 15 foals born since.

"I truly believe this is extortion," Matt Mercier, who managed the farm says of the bill.

A judge ordered Tuesday that Mercier and his boss, James Henderson, Jr. pay that bill by 5 pm Wednesday, or lose the horses. They'd pledged to do it--until they saw the nearly $135,000 total.

"It was almost as if they were doing everything they could to make sure we'd lose the horses--to make sure we coudn't pay," Mercier says.

Mercier points to a hospital bill for treatment of an animal control officer injured on the farm as unfair. It amounts to about $6,000 dollars. He says the amount they've spent on hay would feed three times the number of horses on the ranch.

He says the county is looking to profit by selling off horses.

Acting County Administrator Randy Treacher says not. "Honestly, our hope was they'd take the horses back....There is no money to be made because we are only getting back what we've spent."

He stands by the restitution bill, as only fair to the county's taxpayers. "If it hadn't been in bad condition, we wouldn't have spend as much money as we did," he says.

Treacher says Jackson County has not decided what to do with the horses now that they own them, but sale or auction is likely. He says it's the best way to ward off the future cost of caring for them.

"We need to move expeditiously to do something with these horses," Treacher says.

Mercier says the county is using this as a way to raise money to build a new animal shelter, of which they are in need. Treacher confirms plans to build a new shelter, but calls that allegation ridiculous.

Mercier and Henderson will stand trial on charges of animal torture and abuse. A trial date has not been set.


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  • by cp Location: jackson on Sep 13, 2007 at 06:49 PM
    i cannot believe these animals are being auctioned off! do these so called rescuers realize that most of these horses will be sold as slaughter horses in one way or another? so many people these days cannot even give a horse away with the economy the way it is. i really think if a rescue is truely a rescue, they need to treat each animal as an individual and find them each a good home. to sell them off in masses just means they want money. its aweful! i know that most of these horses will end up in a bad situation, again. when JCAC and the rescue took over this farm they should have realized they were in it for the long haul. they are probably just tired of taking care of the animals and dont want to deal with them anymore. its such a shame that someone who hasnt even been proven guilty is getting such a harsh punishment. these animals were a way of life. people need to realize, if these horses were truely starved for as long as they say, they would be dead.
  • by SC Location: just outside Jackson County on Sep 13, 2007 at 01:43 PM
    Whether you know Matt or Jim or the truth or not, it was ridiculous for AC to come in and seize PRIMARILY HEALTHY horses along with the rest when they can't even take care of the sick dogs and cats in their shelter. Talk about neglect!! Guilty until proven innocent is NOT the American way. They have not been tried on any charges, yet their horses have been seized and many will be exported for slaughter due to JCAC's ignorance. Real rescues adopt out animals, they don't dump them at a livestock auction.
  • by Christina Location: Michigan on Sep 1, 2007 at 05:12 PM
    For the comments stated by "jr", As the sister of James I not only find your comments very offensive, but absolutely ignorant!! My family, including my mother and sister will ALWAYS stand behind Jim and Matt's innocence.We know the truth and I know for a fact that my brother is a wonderful man that I am extremely proud of. So, if you have any more uneducated comments to say regarding my family, direct them to me, I am not afraid to print my name. CHRISTINA HAYDEN. P.S. I am surprised by your use of the english language you can even use a computer!!
  • by jr Location: michigan on Aug 9, 2007 at 06:23 PM
    for this horse deal i believe they are guilty, for one reason is James,if he can be abusive to his own mother and 2 sisters ,what do you think he would do to horses.GLhorsetruth.com is a big joke. James could sell his dope and make the money he needs.James and Matt would feel right at home in prison with the other fags.
  • by Rick Location: Stockbridge on Jul 27, 2007 at 08:49 PM
    Brace yourselves.....next it will be CPS knocking at your door, taking YOUR kids, because some IDIOT "thinks" that they aren't fat enough!
  • by Rick Location: Stockbridge on Jul 27, 2007 at 08:45 PM
    This is a prime case of persons having nothing better to do than to make your business theirs. Coupled with bureaucrats wanting to be in the news, and knee-jerk reactionaries acting without having any idea what they are talking about. The county needed these white elephants about as much as an Eskimo needs a freezer. When it is finally realized what a huge mistake this has all been, I wish that the clowns responsible would have to foot the bill that the rightful owners were expected to pay. Aside from the obvious villifying of the owners, this whole thing wreaks of a cheap money grab.....shameful!
  • by Lynda Location: Kent, WA on Jul 27, 2007 at 08:02 AM
    These people are standing trial for animal TORTURE along with the abuse charges, not just neglect. That is very disturbing. If the horses were not in such bad shape it would have been much less costly to maintain them. There was probably veterinary care in the bill as well not just feed and hay.
  • by Don Location: Seattle, WA on Jul 26, 2007 at 04:33 PM
    What exactly is going on in this county?! - if i were a farm owner (or a pet owner!) i would be very concerned about the outcome of this case and the precedents that have already been set.
  • by Tom Location: Jackson on Jul 26, 2007 at 12:52 PM
    When I learned about the truth at http://www.glhorsetruth.com I became scared to stay in Jackson. This has gone way too far and I for one support the men who have been raped by our corrupt system. Please go to http://www.glhorsetruth.com and let it be known that we expect better from our county then this.
  • by Luke Location: Jackson on Jul 26, 2007 at 12:46 PM
    Visit www.glhorsetruth.com to view details and learn the more about what's really going on.
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