DARLINGTON — If you are considering buying a horse in the near future, check with the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department first.
The sheriff’s department has 13 horses as a result of its investigation of animal neglect in the Town of Wiota, and, well, the birds and the bees.
“We have now reached a point where we can turn them over to new owners,” said Sheriff Scott Pedley in a news release.
The sheriff’s department seized 12 horses owned by Sean C. Legault, 55, Darlington, Feb. 19. One of the horses died, but two of the horses delivered foals.
As a result, the sheriff’s department now has 11 adult horses and two foals, which have to stay with their mothers, for sale or adoption to recover some of the $17,000 in expenses to care for the horses. The adult horses have received vaccinations, the sheriff’s department said.
Legault faces one misdemeanor charge of illegal disposition of carcasses and nine citations for failure to provide sufficient food for animals. A scheduling conference is set for Aug. 20 at 1:30 p.m.
The sheriff’s department began receiving reports of suspected mistreatment in mid-January, including a lack of food. Then, on Feb. 10, a sheriff’s deputy discovered the remains of a deceased horse in the pasture. Legault was charged and released on a $1,000 signature bond, but a veterinary service determined Feb. 19 that the horses were still being neglected, leading to their seizure.
Legault also is the defendant in a civil action filed by Lafayette County. As part of the civil action Legault could have obtained four of the horses, but was required to deposit $6,000 for care in cases the horses’ condition was found to have deteriorated while in his care.
“Legault apparently chose not to deposit the agreed-upon funds and as a result, he lost all rights to the ownership of the horses,” said Pedley.
Written bids for each horse will be accepted until Aug. 6. A background check of all bidders will be completed “so we will be reasonably sure we will be sending these horses to good homes,” said Pedley.
The horses are available for viewing by appointment by calling the sheriff’s department, 776-4870, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations for the care of the horses can be mailed to Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, P.O. Box 148, Darlington, WI 53530.