BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A Bloomington man is now facing charges in connection with the death of two horses and the starvation of a third horse.
Jeffrey Richardson, 66, turned himself in on Friday and was charged with three counts of neglect of an animal, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of failure to dispose of a deceased animal, a level 6 felony.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the case in after receiving a tip on May 22 that Richardson was allowing his horses to become malnourished and die, according to a probable cause affidavit filed last Wednesday.
Authorities served a search warrant at Richardson’s home in the 400 block of Sample Rd. on May 24. There, officers first found a horse that was mostly decomposed, with very minimal skin remaining on its skull. Officers say the floor of the stall it was found in “had a nearly solid covering of maggots.” The affidavit says the stall was also littered with empty buckets covered in feces.
The second dead horse was found only partially decomposed. “The smell near this horse was nearly unbearable without the use of a decomp-mask,” according to the affidavit. Officers say there was also no food or water in the buckets found in the horse’s stall.
A “severely emaciated” third horse, temporarily named Jake, was found last, with its coat matted down with feces and dirt, the affidavit says. The floor of the stall was reportedly covered with so much feces, officers had to struggle to get the door open.
Warning: The photo gallery below contains graphic images.
In other parts of the barn, officers report finding several bags of food and a water spigot which would have reached each stall.
The emaciated horse was loaded into a trailer to be transported to a location for rehabilitation. But before the officers left, they spoke with Richardson, who claimed that the horses had “some sort of disease” that made them stop eating their food, according to the affidavit. He also reportedly did not contact a veterinarian to check on the animals.
A fecal sample was collected from Jake and taken to examined for parasites, but none were found, according to the affidavit.
Immediately after Richardson was booked into jail, the Monroe County sheriff says he bonded out with a $2,000 surety and $500 cash bond.