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Animal cruelty or harassment: Man previously investigated
PENDLETON COUNTY, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- The Pendleton County farmer facing animal cruelty charges says he's done nothing wrong and is being harassed.
And county officials say he's starving horses and leaving their corpses to rot on his farm. Larry Browning was charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty and 49 counts of failure to dispose of a carcass after officers searched his farm Monday. Officials say this isn't the first problem they've had with Browning.
About 29 horses remained on Larry Browning's farm Tuesday. They had hay and access to water. Browning claims they always do and the 15 emaciated horses taken away Monday were dumped there by others. They're not his. He claims he's being harassed by a zealous, new animal control officer and can explain everything.
Browning tells us, "That farm, I've had since 1984. It belonged to a veterinarian before me. His name was Dr. Evans. The neighbors can tell you there were dead carcasses all over that farm."
Browning says he wheels and deals in horses and would be hurting his bottom line by hurting the horses. That may be true, but Larry Browning has faced similar allegations in the not too distant past.
In October of 2011 county officials responded to complaints on Larry Browning's farm. They found 3 dead horses and a couple dozen horses in poor shape. Ultimately, 10 horses had to be humanely destroyed. Browning was not prosecuted in 2011. County Judge Executive Henry Bertram says don't blame the investigators, blame the law.
"If you have a situation where 10 horses have to be put down and you don't have a case, is this indicative of how weak the law is? Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely," Bertram said.
Bertram says Kentucky is among the nation's worst in protecting livestock. The charges Larry Browning faces are all misdemeanors.
"If you can get out of this thing that people stop what they're doing, that's an achievement. Just get them to stop going forward with this kind of process. Hopefully you can get that out of this case. But to get any kind of a strong conviction is difficult," Bertram continued.
Larry Browning says he plans to sell most of his horses, sell his farm and move some place where people don't watch him so closely. This time, his guilt or innocence will be decided by a jury.
Larry browning will be arraigned on the charges April 15th.
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