Editor’s Note: Some of the photos that accompany this story may be disturbing to some readers.
CHAVIES – Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble looked on as two of the three horses he took in at his farm this week were eating, their bodies gaunt and haggard. Only a few feet away the third horse, its hair black and its body thin and bony, lay dead on the ground.
The horses were brought to Noble’s farm in Chavies Tuesday after they were taken from a residence on Lower Second Creek the day before. That’s where a Perry County man, 44-year-old Ovie L. Crawford of Bulan, was cited on allegations of cruelty to animals, according to the police citation filed in the district clerk’s office on Wednesday.
Noble said he received a call from the animal shelter on Tuesday, looking for somewhere to place the animals.
“They said they had three horses, and one was pretty well gone,” Noble said. “I told them to take them to my house and put them in my pasture.”
Kentucky State Trooper Steve Smallwood responded to a complaint on April 9 that horses were being neglected at 1350 Lower Second Creek, according to the citation. Upon arrival, Trooper Smallwood “observed three horses that appeared very skinny, with one black horse being in extremely bad shape with its backbone and ribs showing.”
That’s when police contacted Crawford, the citation continues, who arrived at the scene and claimed he obtained two of the horses through a trade from a man, though he did not know the man’s name. The other horse, he said, came from someone in Clay County.
Smallwood reported that a veterinarian was called to the residence and remarked that the black horse was in “extremely bad condition,” and the remaining two had been neglected as well. Crawford was then cited, though Smallwood noted that the case remains under investigation.
Noble said when the black horse arrived on his farm it was staggering and could barely walk. He purchased food and medicine for it. It ate some, and he checked on it twice, and then again Wednesday morning when he found the animal dead, curled up near the rear of his barn.
Though Noble has taken in animals like this before and nursed them back to health, he said there was little he could do in this case. He had expected to have a veterinarian look at the animal on Wednesday, but it simply didn’t make it.
“I don’t like to see an animal starve to death,” he said. “That really bothers me, seeing the shape it was in.”
The remaining two horses also appear to be in poor health, their ribs easily discernible. Noble said he estimates it will take up to two months to nurse them back to health.
Ovie Crawford, meanwhile, is currently set for a court appearance on Monday, April 30 at 9 a.m. Second-degree cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.