Horse Involved in Abuse Investigation Euthanized

By: Lori Dougovito Email
By: Lori Dougovito Email

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.


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  • by Cheryl Location: Florida on May 2, 2007 at 04:30 PM
    Obviously they put the horse out of it's misery. A injured hip on a horse that can't be cured would be cruel not to put it down. The horse probably could'nt even lay down because it would'nt be able to get back up and a young horse needs to lay down to rest. I am not surprised by the owners opinion because they don't care about the horses. It was a horse mill and since the price of horses is down and the price of feed is up they just decided not to care for them.
  • by Anonymous Location: Grass Lake on Apr 15, 2007 at 08:19 AM
    I live down the road from the farm and I want to know how two grown men can do this to animals. The one thing that really bathers me is that one of the men is a probation officer. He needs to loose his job, how can a person with no regard for animals have the best interest of the public in mind when working as a probation officer. Also I want to know when the horses will be up for adoption. We have friends who are very able to care for and want to adopt the horses.
  • by patricia Location: delton on Apr 12, 2007 at 07:50 AM
    Please let the responsible horse owners know if there will be an adoption site for these animals. It takes so little to let people know if you need help with care of your horses. It is heartbreaking to see animals in this condition. Thank's
  • by Nickole Location: Greenville on Apr 11, 2007 at 06:20 PM
    Do they have an adoption sight for these horses yet?
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