Four horses were moved from a Jonesborough field on Tuesday after the owners were arrested on charges of cruelty on Monday. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Four horses were removed from a Jonesborough field on Tuesday afternoon after Washington County/Johnson City Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas found four emaciated animals out of a total of five involved in a cruelty case initiated on July 9, according to court documents.
“Right now they are being removed for their own safety to make sure they are cared for properly,” Thomas said. “At this time, they still belong to the respective owners. We are just removing them for their own safety.”
One of the horses had to be euthanized before the move and three people were arrested on charges of cruelty Monday.
The owner of the euthanized horse, Kimberly Anne Lebron , 24, Trivette Concourse, No. 8, was charged with one count of cruelty and the owners of the other four horses, David F. Hilliard Sr ., 60, and Arbutus Daisy Smith (Hilliard), 47, both of 1 Mel Circle, Apt. 1, were each charged with two counts of cruelty.
On July 9, Thomas responded to 120 Gregg Hollow Road where property owners said they gave the owners permission to use their field to house the horses.
The horses were found “in a muddy field with very little water in a bathtub and no running water at the residence, mostly weedy with no picking grass and a small pile of old hay,” according to court documents.
Thomas requested a veterinarian examine the horses’ body condition. It was determined that two of the Hilliards’ horses and Lebron’s horse were in poor condition because of “improper care,” according to court documents.
Lebron’s horse was described as in “extremely poor condition,” with an “injury on its neck covered in flies.”
With a body condition score of about 1 out of 9, Lebron gave permission to euthanize her horse, Thomas said. Regarding body conditions, two of the Hilliards’ horses received a score of 2 out of 9 and the third was scored as 3 out of 9. The fourth horse’s body condition score was a 5 out of 9, which is considered “good body condition.”
Property owners told Thomas the horses were on the property for a total of 30 days, according to court documents.
The property owners also kept their horse in the field with the Hilliards’ and Lebron’s horses, but Thomas said they are not involved in the case and that horse remains on the property.
Thomas urges all in the community to fully understand how to care for their pets, whether they are large or small animals, and to always seek a veterinarian’s advice if illness or injury is suspected.
“Don’t wait until we come out and then try to do something,” Thomas said. “You need to do it before we come out because if we come out then it could be too late, which it was in this instance here, a little late for the one horse. You need to maintain your animals whether it’s a dog, cat, cow or horse.”
More photos are available in Lee Talbert's gallery.