Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16084
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: other farm animal, goat
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Thursday, Jan 14, 2010

County: Lander

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Jan Lemley

A Nevada woman is scheduled to be arraigned February 1, 2010, on 42 counts of animal cruelty in a case state agriculture inspectors said is one of the worst they can remember.

Jan Lemley of Battle Mountain faces a $1,000 civil fine for each count after Lander County sheriff's deputies found more than 100 barnyard animals being neglected earlier this month, including more than a half dozen that died.

The dead included two out of the more than 30 starving horses that a neighbor described as "walking skeletons." Agriculture officials said at least one goat died from ingesting wool it ate off a sheep carcass. Three llamas also died.

Lemley told The Associated Press on Wednesday she was innocent of the charges but could not comment further.

"I would love to comment but my lawyer has told me not to," she said by telephone. Lemley said she would forward a request for further comment to her lawyer but declined to identify the attorney.

All told, Sheriff Ron Unger said authorities found 34 horses, 53 goats, 24 llamas, about 20 sheep, six pigs and an assortment of chickens and rabbits. The horses have been removed to an undisclosed location, he said. Their future will be determined by a judge in Argenta Justice Court in Battle Mountain, where Lemley is to be arraigned.

Unger said it was not the first time the sheriff's office had checked on the animals, but it was the first time their condition was this bad.

"They were not being taken care of properly. They were malnourished," he told the Battle Mountain Bugle. "This doesn't happen overnight."

Tim Rickey, senior director of the field investigation and response unit for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, praised the effort by the county and state to rescue the animals. But he said he was concerned that no one reported the neglect sooner. There are a variety of reasons people abuse or neglect animals, Rickey said.

"Some people do not view animals as living beings that actually suffer," he said.

Sid Slate, a neighbor who moved to the area from Washington state six months ago and was one of those who reported the neglect, said only the horses and some llamas were visible from the road.

"From the last month driving by, we could see the ribs on the horses," Slate said last week. "I saw a few horses that looked like nothing but walking skeletons."

Nevada Department of Agriculture spokesman Ed Foster said site investigators told him it was "the worst case of animal cruelty they've ever witnessed."


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