Horse neglect allegations lead to arrest

Jeffrey Lee Graber, 55, was arrested on Wednesday. Graber was charged with one count of livestock neglect, a serious misdemeanor, according to Sheriff Sholl.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl says a Donnellson, Iowa man has been arrested and charged with livestock neglect.

Jeffrey Lee Graber, 55, was arrested on Wednesday.

Graber was charged with one count of livestock neglect, a serious misdemeanor, according to Sheriff Sholl.

He also faces two counts of livestock neglect, simple misdemeanors, pertaining to surviving livestock at two locations and another simple misdemeanor offense for the improper disposal of a dead body.

Iowa Code only allows that a person is charged with one serious misdemeanor when care and sustenance is not provided to multiple head of livestock during any period of uninterrupted neglect, resulting in death of livestock, according to Sheriff Sholl.

Graber was released after being charged.

"We will serve him a notice from the county attorney that he will start a rehabilitation program for those animals," Sheriff Sholl said. "The program will be monitored by a vet."

Authorities visited two properties in which Graber keeps his horses outside of Donnellson with a search warrant on Tuesday.

Sheriff Sholl said the inspection of the properties and animals revealed that numerous horses lacked the necessary sustenance and care consistent with animal husbandry practices.

Sheriff Sholl said that the investigation revealed that the offense of livestock neglect resulted in the death of one horse.

(CAUTION: The fourth photo in the slideshow contains a graphic image of the severed leg.)

The photos shown here were submitted to KHQA by a source who did not want their identity to be made public. KHQA examined the photos and our geo-tracking analysis of the data imbedded in the photos indicates they were taken at January 4 at 2:05 p.m. at one of the pastures in which Graber keeps horses.

Lee County resident, Theresa Potter, expressed concern to KHQA about conditions on the farm. She and another concerned resident of Ft. Madison filed a complaint about Graber's horses in August 2011.

Sheriff Sholl confirmed that a complaint was filed in August 2011.

"It was a founded complaint that there were some animals in dire need of needing to be nursed back to health," Sheriff Sholl said. "The county attorney had us serve notice of rehabilitation to Mr. Graber. A vet was called in, so a certain course of action was planned with Graber to bring his horses back to health. He did comply with those stipulations."

Potter told KHQA she is furious that no charges were filed against Graber in 2011.

"I'm sick of this," Potter said of the alleged horse abuse.

She also said in her opinion the horses that KHQA taped this past Monday during the extremely cold temperatures should have been blanketed and in a stall to protect them from the harsh conditions.

The State of Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Lee County Attorneyâ??s Office, the Lee County Sheriffâ??s Reserve Unit and the Iowa Equine Awareness and Rescue League assisted in the investigation.

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