Discovery of starving horses leads to criminal charge

Friday, March 8, 2002

JACKSON, Mo. -- Police and animal control officers seized three emaciated horses Thursday and charged a Jackson man with their neglect.

David D. Kinder, 55, of 1305 S. Farmington Road, is charged with a class B misdemeanor of animal neglect for failing to provide food to the horses.

An anonymous letter alerted authorities to the horses' plight.

According to an affidavit signed by Cape Girardeau County health director Charlotte Craig, the letter arrived at her office on Feb. 28.

Similar letters or telephone calls were sent to Jackson police, the Humane Society, animal control offices and the Southeast Missourian newspaper.

The letter received by the newspaper included a map to the horses' location and was titled "Looking for someone who cares."

A probable cause statement signed by Jackson patrolman Jim Barker, the city's animal control officer, alleged Kinder hadn't bought any hay for the horses to eat during the winter.

Barker said the animals weren't provided adequate water, and a fourth horse had already died.

Craig's affidavit said she called Jack Piepenbrok, the county's animal control officer, on March 1 and the pair drove to see the horses.

The affidavit described their poor condition, noting that the animals' ribs, hips and backbones were showing and their hooves were split.

After consulting with a veterinarian, Craig wrote a letter that was hand-delivered to Kinder the same day, outlining the amount of hay and grain the animals require to be healthy and warned him that he would face neglect charges if he didn't begin feeding his horses.

Animal control officers visited daily to observe if the animals were being fed. By Wednesday, the situation for the three horses wasn't better.

Kinder is scheduled to appear March 14 before Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp.

If found guilty, he faces a possible sentence of up to 15 days in the county jail and a maximum $300 in fines.

335-6611, extension 160

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