Monday, January 24, 2011

Leachman charged with animal cruelty

The Yellowstone County Attorney's Office on Friday filed five primary misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and five alternative counts against James H. Leachman of Billings. But the legal action may have come too late to save many of the estimated 450 horses starving to death on a ranch east of Billings. Two horses were humanely shot by a county sheriff's lieutenant last Saturday. Unless the surviving horses are fed, Shepherd veterinarian Jeff Peila said the horses will start dying in droves within the next two weeks. It isn't clear who will feed the horses or if they can be adopted. Leachman, who bred cattle in Montana for nearly four decades and turned to horses when his cattle empire collapsed, faces a total maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said the charges are part of what may be the largest horse abuse case in Montana history...more

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