The Great Falls Tribune reports:
The American Quarter Horse Association is asking people to help the more than 450 starving horses on a ranch in southeastern Montana near Billings.
- The AQHA and Tractor Supply Company have donated water tanks for the horses and hay was airlifted in earlier this week, according to the Associated Press.
- In a comment to this article, “medtran” writes:
Here is my question: This land was lost in a foreclosure sale last year. Why is the former owner of the land STILL responsible for these horses? Why is the bank who foreclosed not responsible for them? Or the buyer who purchased the property in the foreclosure sale? If the former owner is to be held responsible, why has he been barred from the property by the bank? Seems like a no-win for the horses and their owner.
James Leachman is charged with animal cruelty. Is that because Leachman abandoned these horses when his property was foreclosed on? Or were they part of the sale, and its new owners responsible?
ABC News reports:
A helicopter airlifted 20 tons of hay, and deputies hauled even more to a sprawling southeastern Montana ranch where hundreds of horses are starving.
The horses belong to James H. Leachman, who pleaded not guilty Friday to 10 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty in an initial court appearance in Billings. Leachman was supposed to remove the animals last July when his business, Leachman Cattle Co., lost the ranch at a federal foreclosure sale.
Leachman said little during the hearing. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he blamed the horses’ problems on the family that bought his ranch. He said the horses had survived Montana’s harsh winters for years on natural forage, but this year were confined by the new landowners to areas that already were overgrazed.
“There’s only been one side told,” Leachman said. “They put them in a pasture that had no grass.”
At the hearing, the Judge also forbid Leachman to enter the property to attend to the horses unless he made arrangements with authorities.
Montana News Station, KFBB Channel 5, reporting on the Montana Horse Sanctuary includes this information:
Jane Heath says that while the current situation of an estimated 800 in-crisis horses in Billings is not a rescue at this point, she has offered the assistance of her organization if needed.
We applaud the great citizens of Montana who have responded to these in-crisis horses and all who have supported them. Their joint efforts have gotten hay and water to the starving Leachman horses so more do not suffer and die while authorities and the Court untangle this mess. We take it that the Stovall family who bought the Leachman Ranch in the foreclosure sale are equally grateful.
In the meantime, it appears that James Leachman has been a very naughty boy, and the AQHA aware of his less than honorable dealings, according to this Complaints Board:
— “Leachman charged with animal cruelty,” by Jan Falstad, Billings Gazette, Jan. 22, 2011