ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
County Attorney Susan Robson reported to the Marion County Commission June 1 that the Lindgren family of rural Marion had found the necessary bond money to facilitate the return of the animals taken from their place by state and county officials early this spring.
Robson had reported at the May 29 meeting that the family had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to post bond money on the horses and dogs to keep officials from auctioning them off or adopting any more out.
According to Robson, the family wanted to have a legal “stay” placed on the animals until a final decision has been made regarding their placement.
The Lindgren family’s dogs were seized by the Kansas Humane Society, and on the same night the horses were taken by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
Charges are pending for improper licensure of kennels and cruelty to animals.
The dogs have been under the care of the KHS, which has adopted out a number of the dogs to individuals and families.
The horses have been under the care of Marion County, but they are not being held on county property. The cost to the county is $3.75 per head per day, or about $10,000 per month for feed, boarding and medical care.
On Thursday, May 31, Lori Kahrs, attorney for the Kansas Health Department, reported the Lindgrens had requested a stay immediately after the seizure, in the hope of not losing any dogs.
Kahrs said if the Health Department wins, the bond money will go to cover costs incurred during the seizure and the continuing care required.
If the state loses the case, the bond money and the dogs will be returned to the family.
The Lindgrens were instructed by the judge at that time to post a bond for the stay.
The family then requested the right to have a property bond, which the judge decided to grant at a hearing May 29.
Bond was set at $15,000 for the dogs and $7,500 for the horses.
Robson told the commission the judge chose to accept property as valued at $10,000, but told the family they must post $5,000 in cash or through a commercial bonder.
At the Friday commission meeting, Robson reported a local bondsman had given the Lindgrens the requested bond money.
She told commissioners there was no way of knowing how long the county would have to hold the horses.
“Are you saying we could be in the horse business for a year or more?” asked commissioner Howard Collett.
“Yes, it is possible,” Robson said.
Robson said she hoped a hearing date could be set sometime in June.
In his report to the commission, Sheriff Lee Becker said about $20,000 had been paid for the horses for feed, boarding and medical care.
He also reported about 12 to 15 horses had foundered, a condition in which the hooves require special care by a farrier. Becker videotaped the hooves, which have grown a number of inches.
Becker said the condition was serious enough that the animals would have to be anesthetized, thus requiring a veterinarian to be on hand.
“I am not a horse person, but I have never seen anything like this,” Becker said.
The horses also need to be wormed, said Becker, who is concerned the county give good care to the horses, and that they are treated humanely.
He also said the horses are eating a lot of food and not getting the nutritive value because of internal parasites.
The estimated cost for the worming the horses is $400 and $850 for the medical work on their hooves.
“We are quickly coming to the point the animal value is reaching and going beyond the cost of care,” Becker said.
He reported the horses have energy and look “entirely different” than when they were first taken into custody several weeks ago.