Lee County sheriff wants neglected horses moved

The Lee County Sheriff's Office made a public plea for people with horse trailers and land to help move and house nearly 30 malnourished horses from a farm near Donnellson, Iowa.

All of the horse were placed with rescue services by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"We now have placement for all of the horses and no other phone calls are necessary," Lee County Sheriff Jim Scholl said. "Thank you for assistance in this matter."

Jeffrey Lee Graber, 55, was arrested Jan. 8 and charged with one count of livestock neglect, a serious misdemeanor.

A judge signed a search warrant before deputies could enter Graber's property and remove the emaciated horses.

"Investigators do not believe that horses ... are receiving the necessary sustenance and care consistent with animal husbandry practices," Scholl said.

Graber 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.

The need to remove the horses was complicated by the fact that officials had to find farms in Iowa. State and federal laws require what is known as a Coggins test which tests for a disease known as Equine Infectious Anemia. Those tests could take weeks, an animal sanctuary owner said.

Barbara Eaton, who owns an animal farm in Southeast Iowa, said she was contacted by a mutual friend desperate to find a home for the horses.

"We have no way to take horses," Eaton said. Renee Riffle of the Oak Grove Animal Sanctuary in Kahoka, Mo. said she was also contacted by a friend looking for room.

"We run an animal sanctuary, but we don't do a lot of work with horses," she said. "But someone needs to do something. These horses are without shelter."

Graber was cited for similar reasons in 2011.

According to

documents obtained by KHQA

through the Freedom of Information Act, Dr. Donald Shannon, a veterinarian with

Parkview Veterinary Clinic

in Ft. Madison, Iowa, concluded that horses owned by at that time were neglected and abused.

Click here

to read the Notice of Neglected Livestock (2011) and the veterinarian report titled Examination of Horses on the Premises of Jeff Graber (2011).