Last Friday, five counts of animal cruelty and five alternative counts were filed against James H. Leachman, by some fellows at the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office. Further details reveal that there’s a ranch, east of Billings, where almost 450 horses are starving to death. The legal action will take a long time to be executed, and by then there will be nothing left of those poor animals.
The Yellow County Sheriff had to shoot 2 horses. He suspects that there’ll be more shootings on the way, if the surviving horses are not fed in time. The next 2 weeks are going to be of crucial nature, as it is not clear when the 4 legged critters will be taken care of.
Scott Twito, the Yellow County Attorney said that he may have the case of one of the largest horse abuse incidents in Montana’s entire history. Meanwhile, according to veterinarian Jeff Peila, the situation is getting quite serious by every passing hour. Leachman is facing 5 years in prison, with a minimum of $5,000 fine. The fine may be increased by the end of this case, but who cares. Can anyone bring back those animals from the gallows? I guess not.
Leachman is not such a bad person because he’s been breeding cattle in Montana for a long time. I’m guessing 4 years of active cattle care and 37 years of documented reports are a good enough duration. But then again, he’s been having a hard time meeting all those expenses, taking care of the would-be dead horsies, and the overall ranch maintenance.
Peila emphasized on taking care of the horses as much as his resources allow him to. These factors just prove Leachman’s inability to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to the animals. His charges can be converted into felony because of the strong evidence that 5 dead horses have come up with.
Take into account, all the incidents from Dec. 29 to Jan. 15:
- A young mare was found dead with a broken leg.
- 2-year old black roan mare died after walking on her ankle bone for a year-and-a-half – The leg just gave way.
- Bay mare strangulated to death because the marking bands on her front legs choked the blood circulation with the passage of time.
- Buckskin mare found dead with a severely damaged tendon.
After getting served with charges last Friday, Leachman still looked optimistic. His side of the story blames someone named Turk Stovall, a guy who has been in dispute with Leachman for years now. “I’ve been served with 10 counts of cruelty to animals. I didn’t have time to study and discuss the charges with my legal advisors but I can assure you that the facts will vindicate me completely. The accusations have been made by Turk Stovall. He’s been slandering me and my horses since July 2010.”