Court dismisses lawsuit seeking removal of horses

A court dismissed a Paonia man’s lawsuit asking that Delta County authorities remove Arabian horses from their owner.

District Judge Charles Greenacre dismissed Greg Szymanski’s suit and approved an agreement under which Szymanski must pay $2,650 in attorney and court fees of Dona Bellinger, the owner of the horses at Bellinger Arabian Horse Farm, 39079 Stucker Mesa Road, in Paonia.

Szymanski didn’t respond immediately to requests for comment Friday.

A hearing scheduled for Friday never took place because Greenacre approved the agreement after a telephone conference on Thursday, said Bellinger’s attorney, Ira Karet.

Szymanki had hoped to persuade the court that he had standing to seek removal of Bellinger’s horses because of an oral contract he struck with her. In that contract, Szymanski said, he purchased feed for the animals and shoveled out her stables. In exchange, she was to reduce her herd by half.

Szymanski originally became involved when he and neighbors were concerned about the condition of the horses.

The outcome of the lawsuit was “really unfortunate,” said Beth Keenan of Spirit Wind Horse Rescue, which Bellinger allowed to remove some horses this summer from the ranch.

Bellinger’s Arabian herd is doing well now, largely because some neighbors took some of the animals in trade for hay, Keenan said.

“That hay is not going to last,” though, Keenan said.

Neighbors will keep an eye on the horses, she said.

The condition of the animals has not been so dire as to require authorities to act under criminal statutes, Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee has said.

Karet said he hadn’t seen the herd but noted Bellinger owns Eden C, a 2006, 2008 and 2010 national champion in Arabian Horse Association competitions.

Bellinger’s ownership of Eden C “speaks to the condition of her horses,” Karet said.

Eden C is pastured at Gallun Farms in California.


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