Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17353
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
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Wednesday, Feb 2, 2011

County: Sac

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Shirley Eileen Schmitt

Six underfed horses were removed from a rural Early farm this week and their owner was charged with animal neglect by the Sac County sheriff.

Shirley Eileen Schmitt, 52, of rural Early, was arrested Wednesday by the Sac County sheriff's office and charged after officers discovered the six malnourished horses on her property.

While searching the farm, deputies also found another horse that was dead, according to the sheriff's office.

The horses were in poor health and had no access to a working water supply, officials said. The animals were seized by the sheriff's office and transported to the Breda Lakeview Veterinary Clinic in Lake View for treatment.

Schmitt gave up ownership of the horses to the sheriff's office.

The horses "are not in horrible shape, but not in great shape," according to veterinary information provided to the Almost Home Pet and Animal Shelter in Fort Dodge.

"We can't house them here, but we can help get them the homes they need," said Chris Ball-Slotten, Almost Home volunteer coordinator. "They are animals in need and if we can help get them adopted, we'll do what we can."

Almost Home does not have facilities to house horses, Ball-Slotten said.

After the horses are healthy enough, they will need to be moved somewhere more appropriate pending their adoptions.

"They need somebody with the proper facility and time and devotion to give them the care they need until they can get adopted," Ball-Slotten said. "They need someone to show them how wonderful people can be."

Staff at the Breda Lakeview Veterinary Clinic declined to comment on the status of the horses due to pending investigations.

Schmitt was released Thursday with supervision pending a court date. Animal neglect is a serious misdemeanor. If convicted, she could face a maximum of one year in county jail and a $1,500 fine.

A phone listed for Schmitt has been disconnected. Court records said Schmitt is representing herself.


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