MARION, Ind. -- Grant County Animal Care and Control is investigating the death of a horse in Marion on a farm neighbors have filed complaints about for more than a decade.
As we first reported a year ago, neighbors used to feed animals they say were starving, without the owner’s permission.
Over the last few years, neighbors say the property owner has become increasingly more intimidating. In the last several months, they claim threats have become so frequent and frightening, most are now too nervous to continue tossing hay over the fence.
Now, they’re heartbroken that one of the horses could not be saved.
“My text said that the horse was laying down on the ground moaning,” said Brenda Volmer, president of the Marion-Grant County Humane Society, of the message she received on Christmas.
The next day, the county officials found the horse dead on the property.
The horse is on a Marion property that has attracted attention and investigations before.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has monitored the property since October 2014. The county’s Animal Care and Control is now looking into the latest death.
But Volmer says neighbors aren’t optimistic this investigation will end any differently than they have previously.
“I don’t know how this one horse could’ve slipped through the safety net that was supposedly there for those animals,” said Volmer.
Those living near the two properties on S 500 E say they’ve all called dozens of times to report injuries that have seemingly gone months without care and thin horses, no longer getting as much food from scared neighbors on the other side of the fence.
“I think that after you’ve called so many times and don’t get any results, what are you supposed to do?” questioned Volmer.
Neighbors say hay bales now in the front yard were put there since the last dead horse was found.
“I feel hopeful that maybe something will come of this; however, the horse had to die to get somebody back out there,” said Volmer.
Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, Volmer doesn’t believe the owner will face any real penalties.
“The problem is there are no ordinances here in the county to cover this,” said Volmer. “There are state laws, but they are not very effective for the animals.”
Two years ago during the last investigation on the property after two horses died, local animal advocates tried to get a local ordinance passed.
They say the effort fizzled with the current commissioners then, but with a new incoming commissioner, they hope the latest death is enough to make them reconsider.
While the cause of this horse’s death is unknown, without harsher local and state laws, Volmer fears many more animals across the county will die for no good reason at all.
“I’m sure this is not the only horse that’s suffering,” said Volmer. “I’m sure there’s horses and animals all over Grant County.”