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Stock producer appeals forfeiture of malnourished horses; auction called off


An attorney for Barney Brehmer of Brehmer Rodeo will appeal the February decision of Justice of the Peace Swenson forcing the Hurnville area stock producer to forfeit 30 malnourished bucking horses to the Clay County Sheriff’s office.

Ricky Bunch, a Wichita Falls defense attorney, noted in court documents that the Feb. 27 civil hearing was held illegally because forfeiture hearings are required within 10 days of seizure. The appeal was filed at 4:55 p.m. Friday, and will go to county court. County Judge Kenneth Liggett expects the case to go before a jury in three weeks.

On Feb. 13, a Clay County sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of possibly two dead horses located on a property located along FM 1197, north of Henrietta.

According to testimony in the hearing, one of the two horses was found alive, but severely emaciated and could not get up. The “skeletonized” carcass of another horse was also found. A stock tank on the property had adequate water, said Williams, but there was no standing vegetation in the pasture and he saw no signs of hay. Other horses were located in the same pasture.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office seized the horses on Feb. 14. A veterinarian inspected the animals, finding all but two suffered the affects of malnourishment. The 21 female and nine male horses range in age from 4-7 years.

In his decision, Swenson ordered Brehmer to pay $4,370 to reimburse the county for care of the horses until date of sale. A local rancher has been charged with care of the horses at a cost to the county of $160 per day, not including vet bills. Bunch posted a $4,000 bond to secure the appeal.

The horses were to be auctioned Thursday, March 13. The sale has been cancelled. The sheriff’s office expected little turnout for the auction, but has since found much interest in the horses.

“We’ve had calls from rodeo producers from all over this country,” said Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

Brehmer could face criminal charges of cruelty to livestock animals, a Class A Misdemeanor.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.