SW Kansas sheriff says he’s getting calls about welfare of some horses

Horses abused in Kiowa County. (Photo by KSN's Molly Brewer)

KIOWA COUNTY, Kan. (KSN) – A sheriff in a southwest Kansas county says he’s been getting a lot of phone calls from people who are concerned about the welfare of some horses.

Kiowa County Sheriff Chris Tedder says he’s received upwards of 60 phone calls and dozens of Facebook messages about the horses.  Tedder says those who’ve been in touch with him say the horses aren’t being cared for properly.

“There have, there have been reports for a few years,” said Tedder.  “We’re limited by law on what we can and can’t do. The horses do have food when we go out there and do have water and uh we do some investigations and that’s about all we can do.”

KSN looked into the Kansas statute on animal cruelty which includes “knowingly failing to provide food, water, protection from the elements, opportunity for exercise and other care as is needed.”

Unfortunately, that leaves a lot up for interpretation including the definition of “shelter.”

The definition of animal cruelty included the killing,injuring, maiming, torturing, burning or mutilating any animal, including poisoning any domestic animal or abandoning any animal with no provisions for care.

If a person is found guilty of animal cruelty, they could get no less than 30 and up to a year in jail, and be fined anywhere between $500 and $5,000.

“I just want people to know that we are investigating this to the extent that we can and it will be turned over to the county attorney for review,” said Tedder.

He says his office has received several offers from those who say they’re ready to help the animals if that becomes necessary.

“We’re working with several rescue groups and they are prepared to assist if needed,” Tedder said.

KSN tried to get in touch with the property owner but we did not hear back from that person.

As of Thursday afternoon, Tedder says a veterinarian has checked the horses and he is currently working with the county attorney.

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