Tennessee Sheriff: Man Charged with Cruelty to Horses Not Serving in Iraq

A Lewisburg, Tenn., man charged with animal cruelty was not performing military service in Iraq as The Associated Press reported, but was actually stateside when Marshall County authorities seized 17 horses from his property.

"He's in the National Guard and was in Alabama taking training for a marijuana eradication task force," said Capt. Norman Dalton of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department. "He appeared in person to pick up a summons to appear in court."

On August 10, The Associated Press reported that horses owned by Derek Ulmer had been ordered to Iraq on short notice and had not been able to make arrangements for their care. The Volunteer Equine Advocates, headquartered in Gallatin, Tenn., was looking after the herd in Ulmer's absence, the report said.

In fact, Volunteer Equine Advocates had been given temporary custody of the horses after animal control authorities deemed them allegedly abused and seized them, according to the horse rescue organization's spokesperson Jamie Clifton.

Clifton said members of her organization went to Ulmer's property at the sheriff's department request to remove 11 of the 17 horses. Five more had already been removed to a Lewisburg veterinary clinic. Another was found dead on the property.

According to Dalton, Ulmer had been charged with animal cruelty in February, but retained custody of the horses during a May hearing because, he said, their sale was pending. The case was re-opened according to Dalton, because Ulmer had not sold the horses and their condition had not improved. New abuse charges were added to the original ones when authorities seized the horses on August 4.

"Instead of filing a contempt charge for not selling the horses, we added another cruelty count to the existing charges," Dalton said.

The case is scheduled to be heard on August 28.

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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