One of the 13 horses seized Friday from a pasture near Melvern, with its ribs showing, appears to be underfed.

Catherine Faimon | Publisher

In the span of eight days, another herd of animals has been seized by Osage County Sheriff’s officers, due to alleged neglect. The first occurrence was April 16, when 13 horses were removed from property in rural Melvern, belonging to Salah Ibrahim, of Linwood. The horses were transported to an equine rescue facility, where one of the horses later died. As of Tuesday, charges had not been filed by Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones.

In an unrelated case, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 12:25 p.m. April 24 from a person reporting horses that looked neglected. Osage County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Henry responded to the location at 16578 S. Croco Rd., approximately three miles west of Overbrook. The land, home and animals belong to Davin Ortiz and her sister, Jessica Davis.

Upon arrival at the location, deputies made a determination that there were eight horses and miniature horses, as well as one dog that were living in poor conditions.

“A vet arrived at the scene and determined the horses were in bad shape. A dog, too,” Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn said. In total, eight horses and one dog were relocated to three different rescue facilities. A private citizen with a horse trailer was hired to handle and transport the horses.

Ortiz said Tuesday in a phone interview that she arrived home Saturday to see deputies on her property.

“They didn’t really tell us why they were here,” she said. “One cop said, ‘By law, we have to have a vet come out and look at your animals,’ and I said, okay.

“The vet showed up and checked the animals,” Ortiz said. “She told us it wasn’t up to her if the animals were going to be removed or not. Then the cops talked and said the vet told them the animals had to be removed from the property because it was poor living conditions here.”

Ortiz said she learned that the sheriff’s office had been out to her property in February and looked at her animals, but was not told of the visit.

She said after the February inspection, there was no communication between law enforcement and her, regarding any action that would be taken. However, on Saturday, the officer said when the sheriff’s officers were at the property in February, they told a friend who was living at the home to clean up the place within a certain amount of time or the animals would be removed.

“We got told we were not turned in for neglect or abuse, it was for our horses running at large,” Ortiz said. “Our horses have never run at large. They told us we have a possibility of getting them back. We have to improve the living conditions, and that’s basically all they said. They told us we have a month to get things cleaned up. They’ll (the horses) go to my parents’ land where there’s more room.”

Ortiz contacted the sheriff’s office today. “They told us as soon as we get a fence up, they will come out and inspect it. They will make sure its up to code and then maybe approve of it.”

Dunn said the county attorney was given the offense report Monday, and although there may be additional follow-up on the investigation, she said he has enough information to file charges.

Jones told The Herald-Chronicle Tuesday morning that he expected to have charges filed in the case against Ibrahim, by the end of the day.

In a follow up call late Tuesday afternoon, to confirm whether charges were filed, Jones said, “You know, it’s hard to get anything done on this case when I’m being badgered and bothered all day. People like you, Kansas City, and others calling me all day long, asking about this. I tell you, I’ve had more calls on this case than any other case I can remember. What about your interest in things like people being killed, children abused? This is unbelievable.”

Jones said in an e-mail Tuesday evening to The Herald-Chronicle that he intended to file the charges Wednesday morning, and had no further comment about the case. However, multiple television stations reported Jones planned to file one charge of animal cruelty and one charge of unlawful disposal of dead animals. They reported Jones as saying he will issue a summons for Ibrahim to appear in court 10 a.m. June 3.