Lacking horse sense and compassion

Patricia Keune claimed she and her husband Charles were caught in a “Catch-22” situation when it came to forfeiting five horses and six head of cattle taken from their small farm in Delta County Wednesday, because they didn’t have the money to pay a fine and keep their livestock.


It’s hard to gin up much sympathy for a couple that allowed a horse to starve to death — when it clearly wanted to eat and might have recovered — so they could call a renderer to take the dead animal a day after the renderer had refused to take it because it was still alive.

Nor it is easy to show the Keunes much support when, according to the Delta County Sheriff’s Department and others, they rejected advice on how to care for the animals, rejected hay that was offered to them to help feed the animals and kept their livestock in horrible conditions.

Whatever “catch” the Keunes were facing with their livestock, it was one of their own making, not something imposed on them by an uncaring judicial system.

The couple have already pleaded guilty to some charges related to the dead horse, but now face a dozen other animal-cruelty charges for the treatment of their animals. Although those are misdemeanor charges, if they’re found guilty, they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent the law allows.

There are many horse owners in this region who have had trouble feeding and caring for their animals as a result of the economic downturn. Most have sought assistance from others or turned their horses over to responsible parties to care for them. They don’t let them die agonizing deaths so they can be conveniently hauled away.


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