“Jet,” a 32-year-old former barrel racing horse, was euthanized by a local veterinarian Monday morning after its condition deteriorated because of age, according to both the horse’s owner and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office received several calls recently from concerned residents about the condition of a horse in Pomona, Jerrod Fredricks, master deputy of the sheriff’s office, said Monday. The calls started in September, Fredricks said, and since then deputies have made numerous welfare checks on the animal, making contact with the owners many times.
A man who identified himself as the horse’s owner but refused to give his name, said the horse was fed twice a day and was treated as part of the family.
It was difficult to see the veterinarian, Dr. Ed Smith of the Ottawa Veterinary Hospital, put the animal down after such a long life, he said. The normal lifespan of a horse is between 25 and 30 years, according to M.E. Ensminger’s “Horses and Horsemanship.”
“Our response to any of this is to check and make sure that the animal is being cared for according to state statute. That it has food, it has water and it is being cared for in that way,” Fredricks said, “and every time that we sent a deputy to the residence, it had plenty of food and plenty of water.”
The sheriff’s office confirmed with the veterinarian that the horse was healthy, but would not hold weight because of its age, Fredricks said. The vet also said the horse was on a “pelleted” diet, and also was fed ground alfalfa and sweet feed.
The sheriff’s office determined the owners were doing what they could to ensure the animal was being cared for to the best of their abilities, Fredricks said.
“That case in no way shows there was neglect or abuse by Kansas state statute,” Fredricks said. “We will not be doing a report that we believe charges need to be filed. However the only entity in the county that can file charges is the county attorney.”
Fredricks said the sheriff’s office has gathered the information from its investigation and will be giving it to the county attorney. In a release, Sheriff Jeff Curry said his office responded to the many calls that came in regarding the animal.
“I appreciate the concern that one elderly horse received,” Curry said. “My office received over 40 calls in regard to his well-being over the last two days. I would like to see this type of concern shown to the issue of elder abuse in our county as well. With this type of concern, I believe the weakest in our community would receive the care and need they deserve.”