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Not enough evidence in horse neglect case

6:56 PM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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A dead horse and several malnourished others were found at a farm on Cleveland Street near Coopersville. (Courtesy Gail Hirt)

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Prosecutors say they do not have enough evidence to seek charges in a possible case of horse neglect in Ottawa County.

Many people commented on the WZZM 13 Facebook page about a 13 On Your Side story that aired Wednesday night, asking why charges weren't filed against the horse owner near Coopersville.

Sheriff's deputies found one horse dead and they say other animals appeared to be underweight. Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz says based on the veterinary report, the cause of death is undetermined, which means there is not enough evidence for a criminal case.

Meanwhile, veterinarians say horse neglect cases are on the rise because last year's drought caused hay prices to increase.

"We have seen a hay shortage and the expense of hay has gone up two or three times what it's historically been. That puts a lot of cost pressure on horse owners," says Dr. Deron Nelson with West Michigan Veterinary Service.

The prosecutor plans to monitor the situation closely and make sure the owner takes necessary steps to improve conditions on the property.

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