Neighbors fight over dying horse

Fletcher_Ranchers in Fletcher say their neighbor is neglecting her horses -- and Thursday it ended in a Comanche County sheriff's deputy having to put one down. Neighbors say this property never has food or water for the four horses living there. But the homeowners say the horses are fed every night -- and this horse was just too old to fend for herself.

The horse was old, and she was very skinny, and a severe cut to her side took her down Wednesday. After trying to get a vet out to take care of her, a deputy finally had to put her down himself Thursday afternoon. But neighbors say it should have never gone that far.

"Are you going to let something lay there and die in front of you? sit there and eat your steak while they don't have nothing? no, it's not going to happen," said neighbor Paul Meinz.

Neighbors claim the horses on this property never have water -- and when they do have food, it's rotten. "They don't feed the animal, the hay they bring in I wouldn't feed to a goat," Meinz said.

But the homeowner's daughters say they take care of the horses everyday -- and they've trained this horse since they were children. But she was just getting too old to fend for herself among younger horses fighting for the food. Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley says when horses get too old, their teeth are so weak they physically can't eat anymore,and that may have been the case here. But neighbors disagree... "This could have been prevented," Meinz said. "Could have been prevented if a woman would have taken care of her animals. I'm not going to take care of them, I'm tired of it. But I'm not going to see an animal die of starvation and thirst. And that's what that animal is doing."

The homeowner's daughters say this horse was running with the others when she split open her side. They say it was that fatal injury -- not starvation -- that took her down. And Stradley agreed. But the neighbors say she lay dying in this spot for two days -- and should have been put out of her misery long before the sheriff's department had to get involved. "There's no excuse for it," Meinz said.

Sheriff Stradley says there is no criminal investigation in the death of this horse -- but he says his deputies will be check on the other horses in three weeks, because they're not too skinny, but they're not fat enough either. So he wants them healthier by that deadline or he may have to intervene.

You may remember we have had similar stories like this one over the past couple months. In november 11 cows died in Jackson County, and in December a few horses died in Stephens County, which has led to a criminal investigation.