Dozens of horses that were allegedly neglected now have to be returned to their owner because of a mistake made by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies seized 30 horses from Jeffrey Graber’s home in January. Graber was arrested and charged with animal neglect along with a list of other misdemeanors.
This week the Sheriff’s Department learned it violated the law by not first giving Graber notice that his animals would be seized. Because of the paperwork error, the charges will have to be dropped and the animals will be returned.
Sheriff Jim Sholl said he regrets the department’s mistake but says there is a small silver lining for the horses.
“It’s unfortunate this has happened but I feel better that the horses will be returned to Mr. Graber, probably in a much better condition than they rescued them,” Sheriff Sholl said.
This was the first time the Lee County Sheriff’s Department had performed an animal rescue. The Sheriff said it’s been a major learning experience.