Split Verdict in Central Kentucky Horse Abuse Case

The two central Kentucky women charged with animal cruelty after authorities seized their 24 horses from a Lexington farm in January 2005 received a split verdict in court on June 8. After a two-day trial, the mother, Nancy Nygaard, was acquitted of all charges, while her daughter, Kathleen Nygaard, was charged on all seven counts of cruelty to animals in the second degree.

The jury recommended that Kathleen Nygaard be sentenced to 90 days in jail served concurrently and the maximum $500 fine for five of the counts. Official sentencing will be at the end of July.

Jerome Black, Kathleen Nygaard's attorney, told The Horse, "We are going to make a decision about an appeal. We have 30 days to decide that."

Additionally, on June 8 Chuck Deppen, the owner of the farm on Yarnalltown Pike where the Nygaards kept their horses, filed suit against the Nygaards and three other horse owners asking for back rent and money he spent on feed and care for the horses.

Three of the horses that received immediate medical attention for starvation at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute after they were seized are currently in foster care under direction of the Lexington Humane Society (LHS), said Carrie Trapp, spokeswoman for the LHS. The other horses are still on the Yarnallton farm and being cared for by Deppen and the LHS. Trapp said all of the horses involved in the abuse case are doing well.

"We are still in the process of identifying the horses' owners, but expect to have the horses moved off the Yarnallton farm within one month," said Trapp.

About the Author

Marcella M. Reca Zipp, MS

Marcella Reca Zipp, M.S., is a former staff writer for The Horse. She is completing her doctorate in Environmental Education and researching adolescent relationships with horses and nature. She lives with her family, senior horse, and flock of chickens on an island in the Chain O'Lakes.

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