Neglect Charges Dismissed Against Oregon Horse Breeder

The District Attorney in Wallowa County, Ore., has dismissed charges against a breeder of Portuguese Lusitano and Andalusian horses accused last year of maltreating more than 100 horses at her farm.

In February 2011 Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen told that Wallowa County law enforcement personnel seized 120 allegedly malnourished Portuguese Lusitano and Andalusian horses from the Carpe Diem Farm near Troy. Personnel also found horse carcasses on the property, he said. Steen relayed that the seized animals were placed in the care of the Wallowa County Sheriff's Department and were later sold to new owners. Farm operator Byrde Lynn Hill was later charged with 100 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect

On April 16, 2012, Wallowa County District Attorney Mona Williams said the charges against the farm operator had been dismissed on grounds that Hill, who resides in Washington state, had been declared incompetent and was placed in the care of a guardian appointed by a Washington state court.

"The county had no choice but to seize the horses because they had no water, and we had to file the charges in order to recover the costs of caring for the horses," Williams said. "We dismissed the charges because what was I going to gain by pressing charges against someone who has been deemed incompetent and unable to look after herself and her affairs?"

In all the county incurred costs of $30,000 in caring for the animals, Steen said previously. The majority of those costs were recovered through the sale of the horses, he said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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