Felony Charges Reinstated Against Horse Farm Operators

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LANSING -- The Michigan Court of Appeals has reinstated felony torture charges against two horse farm operators.
Authorities in March 2007 discovered 69 malnourished horses without food or water on a farm in Jackson County. The horses were found amid piles of trash, rusted auto parts and manure.
A three-judge panel released an opinion Wednesday finding probable cause to bind over James Henderson Jr. and Matthew Mercier for trial. A circuit judge had ruled there was no evidence that the defendants intended to harm horses.
The appeals court also reversed a lower court and ordered the farm's owner to forfeit his herd.
Messages seeking comment have been left with attorneys for the two defendants.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Carole Location: Mi. Center, MI on Feb 5, 2009 at 06:33 PM
    Jackson Co., MI doesn't have garbage service. My uncle rented this land back in 1963 and in the house burned down May 1977so no one lives there and people drive up under the trees and dumb trash, they don't bother to go back to the fence and throw it over where the horses are. They want to dumb and get away, Go to your fav. map site and put in 12815 East Michigan Ave, Grass Lake, Michigan and you will see for yourself. This is rented land and the horse's were never in the junk. The front was cleaned up before, but with no one living there and being out in the county, it's a loosing battle to keep the front clean. The horses are fenced in the back and the front isn't used. Plus there was a barn there or a garage which had the owners belongings in it which fell down. That wasn't used by the renters either and the horses were fenced away from that. There are three horses that they had issues with and they were already in the barn being given extra care.
  • by Vanessa Location: WIlliamston on Feb 4, 2009 at 01:30 PM
    The problem with society and law today is that there is injustices everywhere and no one wants to combat them. I am surprised that these guys were even charged with the ineptness of the government. I have a friend who tried to press charges against the local landlord for harassment for bogus fees and everyone said that they needed to do something else.
  • by Sara Location: Down the road from the horse farm on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:54 PM
    First of all let it go and stop wasting the tax payers money.Those poor horses had over 10 acres to run full of hay with streams running through it. Not all of the horses were underweight and being that I live just down the street from it, more than once did I see horses that someone didn't want left there tied to the fence. Those guys didn't go out and get all of those horses, people just dropped some of them off and those guys took them in. Also, the property is lined by trees. If those horses were starving, they would have ate the bark off the trees. Not so. One more thing, the "authorities" did find new homes for all of them....in someone's freezer. They were sold at an auction near by and bought by meat companies for pennies. Stop wasting our money.
  • by Andrea Location: Charlotte on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:28 PM
    Bad thing is most the animal shelters are not equipped to handle large animals. I have the room to foster several horses and the know how to care for them. Just not the financial means to do so.
  • by sandra Location: who cares on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:58 AM
    this is so stupid i think that they should go to jail for what they did. how couln't the judge find that they were trieing to hurt the poor horses. i will report this to someone who actually cares! maybe even the president!!
  • by Ondine Location: Indiana on Feb 4, 2009 at 10:43 AM
    This three judge panel did the right thing. People who abuse and neglect animals always have some lame story as to what happened. It takes a long time for horses to become extremely underweight. These guys knew what condition they were in and just didn't give a toot. They broke the law and need to pay. I'd like to see these two men serve jail time and reimburse the authorities for the cost of care for the horses until they find new owners for them.
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