State Veterinarian's Office Continuing Investigation, Coordinating Care for Mercer County Horses

The Kentucky state veterinarian’s office is continuing to investigate a case of alleged animal neglect on a farm in Mercer County while helping to coordinate care for 43 horses at the center of the case, State Veterinarian Robert C. Stout said today.

“Our top priority is the welfare of the horses,” Dr. Stout said. “The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, local volunteers, equine organizations, and the local agricultural community have done an outstanding job of pitching in to care for the horses. They are to be commended, and we thank them for their generosity.”

The Office of the State Veterinarian, a division of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, was first called to the farm on June 3. The horses have been assessed by the state veterinarian’s office and later by veterinarians from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, and five were found to be in poor health requiring extensive care. The Thoroughbred Retirement Center relocated those five horses plus a foal to Blackburn Correctional Complex.

KDA veterinarians and enforcement staff have been on site several times a week to oversee the care of the horses, Dr. Stout said. The KDA is leading the investigation while the sheriff’s office is managing day-to-day activities at the farm and the county attorney’s office is handling the legal aspects of the investigation, he said.

Volunteers and organizations have donated time, supplies, services, and transportation to aid the horses. More than 400 bales of hay have been donated, Dr. Stout said.

The state veterinarian’s office investigates reports of animal neglect and cruelty in support of local authorities. To contact the state veterinarian’s office call 502-782-5901.

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