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Jefferson Co. sheriff: Health of horses in animal cruelty case is improving

June 20, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A veterinarian on Monday examined about 65 horses being cared for by a Charles Town man at the center of an animal cruelty case and the health of the animals is improving, Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said.

"Of course, that started to happen when the fields started to green up," Boober said Monday.

Boober's comments followed a pretrial hearing on the case Tuesday afternoon in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

Harley Wagner, who is representing Dennis B. Danley, of 44 Colorado Court, was given information including veterinary reports and photographs as a result of a hearing that focused on discovery issues, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Hassan Rasheed said.

Another hearing was set for Sept. 11 to deal further with discovery issues, Rasheed said.

Boober said perhaps some type of resolution might be reached by then.

"I'll let the prosecutors handle that end of it," Boober said.

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Danley was charged March 26 with 10 counts of cruelty to animals and released on a $7,500 bond, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Each of the cruelty to animals charges carries a possible punishment of a fine of $300 to $2,000 and/or up to six months in jail, according to court records.

Cpl. Vincent Tiong of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said the case began when a person who works at Charles Town Races & Slots came to the sheriff's department Feb. 9 and talked to him about horses being kept at a farm off Huyett Road.

Tiong said the track worker told him there were 10 to 15 horses in a field along Blakeley Farm Lane that were not being properly fed and did not have water.

It also was discovered that several horses were not properly buried and members of the sheriff's department found about five or six dead horses that had been left along a tree line, Tiong said in court papers and an interview.

Other horses had rib cages and spines showing, and a few of the horses were suffering from "rain rot," which is caused by horses being left in the rain, Tiong said.

Horses at the farm are being closely monitored to make sure they are cared for, Boober said previously.

Tiong said Tuesday that he usually drives by the farm every day when he is working to check on the horses. Tiong said Danley has been feeding the horses and agreed with Boober that their condition is improving.

Bonnie Danley, Danley's wife, previously defended her husband, saying she and her husband were having financial problems and that no one had been cruel to the horses.

The charges against Danley have generated interest in the case and, in April, a petition containing more than 300 names pushed for Boober to seize the horses.

The petition raised concerns about the horses and claims there are laws that allow authorities to remove the horses from the property.

Boober previously said that state law prohibits him from seizing the horses before a trial. State law prohibits police from seizing animals without a "pre-seizure hearing," but there is nothing in state law that says how such a hearing should be held, Boober said.

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