$60K bond set for care of neglected horses
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 10:00 AM
A Jefferson County judge set a $60,000 cash bond for the care of dozens of horses that were confiscated in Dupont following a criminal investigation in January.
The county impounded more than 80 horses from Jeff Hayes after allegations of animal cruelty and improper disposal of dead animals. Since then, the county has spent about $40,000 caring for the animals.
Superior Court Judge Alison Frazier on Monday gave Hayes 10 days to pay the amount of the bond on the animals - which represents three months of animal care costs. The bond is not for the release of the animals, but rather care expenses.
The county had filed for a motion confirming its authority to release the horses to permanent care.
According to court records, Hayes had 10 days to post a bond on the animals following his arrest but did not.
In addition to the bond ruling, Frazier ordered the Indiana State Board of Animal Health to provide recommendations for the disposition of the animals before March 14.
On Monday, attorney Pat Magrath, who is representing the county, submitted two reports from the Indiana Board of Animal Health that gave health assessments of the animals at the time they were impounded.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Deputy Yancy Denning - the lead investigating officer in the case - testified that the county has spent more than $40,000 caring for the horses. While the horses are in 14 different foster homes in the area, the county is responsible for paying monthly care bills.
Hayes' attorney, John Watson, argued that the impounded horses represented all of Hayes' assets. He also said the sheriff's affidavit of probable cause was vague because it did not offer details on each animal and did not provide information supporting the seizure of every animal confiscated from Hayes' two rental properties.
Watson requested a second probable cause hearing in the case in order to challenge the affidavit, but Frazier denied the request.
A donation fund for the horses has been set up through River Valley Financial Bank to off set the expenses. The fund has grossed about $5,000 and is still accepting donations.