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Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011County: McHenry
» John F. Lekich
» Carla Pruitt Lekich
A couple in the northwest McHenry County suburb of Harvard are accused of mistreating five horses on their property.
John F. Lekich and Carla Pruitt Lekich, both 55, have been charged with 35 misdemeanor counts of violating owner's duties and five counts of animal cruelty after authorities reportedly seized five malnourished horses from their five-acre farm Tuesday.
An investigation by the sheriff's office ensued in late October after animal control issued several notices to the homeowners of the property on the 17800 block of Altenburg Road to have the unhealthy horses looked at, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said.
Arrest warrants were issued Monday and five of the 15 horses located at the property were taken into custody Tuesday. The couple was arrested Wednesday, according to a news release. The horses, which were in need of veterinary care, have been placed in the care of the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock.
The breakdown of charges includes five counts of animal cruelty of five horses that were severely underweight; five counts of failing to provide veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering; 15 counts of failing to provide sufficient food and water; and 15 counts of failing to provide adequate shelter and protection from the weather.
Both are scheduled to appear in court Dec. 15.
The incident comes more than five months after a Des Plaines woman was found guilty of 24 counts of animal cruelty and neglect of five horses being boarded at stables in Crystal Lake.
In that case, three of the horses were treated and rehabilitated and regained their health. But two others had to be euthanized due to their critical conditions, according to testimony during the seven-day jury trial.
Jamie Koy, 38, was sentenced to two years probation late last month, and was given ownership "with supervision" of the three horses.
"We've seen several of these cases over the last year or two," Zinke said. "This is a concern to animal control and the sheriff's office. We will continue to work with animal control and horse owners to make sure these animals are safety treated."
The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office declined any further comment.
The investigation is ongoing.
- triblocal.com - Nov 9, 2011
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