By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FRANKLIN COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -
It's been a three-year-long battle between two Franklin County neighbors. At question is the health of dozens of horses.
Pomona, KS, resident Jamie Stokes said he loves his family horses.
"Because of their size and just as powerful as they are, they're the most docile creature I know," he said.
Stokes said they've got 60 of them on their 122-acre farm.
He admits keeping up with that many horses is a hassle. Still, Stokes said he's done nothing wrong, and his horses are not in danger.
"Oh, absolutely not, absolutely not," he said.
Neighbor Monica Swartley begs to differ. She said during the last three years she's become increasingly concerned for the animals. Last summer she shot video of some animals suffering from what she said is malnutrition and poor upkeep.
"It breaks my heart. It's just really sad," she said.
Stokes admits, raising horses is not easy, but said this is more a case of two neighbors not getting along.
"As you can see we have a privacy fence in the country. How ridiculous is that? Because if we were out here mowing the lawn or working on a truck, they'd be videotaping us," he said.
The question now being asked is are the horses right now in danger or neglected? The Franklin County Sheriff's Department and their experts who investigated the farm said no.
"They have determined that, although the conditions are not ideal, they're not to the level of abuse or neglect," Jeff Curry with the Franklin County Sheriff said.
The one suggestion the sheriff's department had was, if homes can be found for some of the horses, it would help with their upkeep.
"If there's too many horses on that property, and we can find good homes for them, I'd like to do that," Curry said.
As for Swartley, she believes there is a real problem across the street, and she's got one goal in mind – no horses.
The Stokes farm recently gave 24 of their horses to a rescue in Iowa. The Franklin County Sheriff is hoping other organizations will step forward and be able to help.
Those concerned with the situation do recommend that all horses get checked out for contagious diseases before someone adopts them.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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