Vet cites animal abuse in 2011 horse investigation

Mugshot of Jeffrey Graber, 55, who was arrested and charged with livestock neglect earlier this month.

The southeast Iowa man arrested and charged with livestock neglect earlier this month 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 Jeffrey Lee Graber, 55, 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).

Shannon visited Graber's horses on Aug. 12, 2011 after a complaint was filed with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. He recorded and submitted several problems to the sheriff's office, including finding two dead horses that had been dead for several days.

"Since we did not walk over the entire pasture, there may have been more dead animals," Shannon stated in the document.

The report also stated that the horses were virtually skin and bones and were reluctant to move due to emaciation. The horses did not have any disease conditions, only health problems that resulted from inadequate food and poor water supply.

Shannon reported to the sheriff's office that the horses' water source was a pond filled with algae and not within the normal drinking water quality required for livestock. The pasture was so short the animals were going through broken fences to an adjoining property for food.

The vet recommended steps be taken to immediately secure proper care of the horses.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl then submitted a notice of neglected livestock to Graber on Aug. 16, 2011.

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

No charges were filed following the 2011 findings. However, Graber was arrested and charged with livestock neglect on Jan. 8, 2014.

Sheriff Sholl said Graber was charged with one serious misdemeanor count of livestock neglect, two simple misdemeanor counts of livestock neglect pertaining to surviving livestock at two locations and another simple misdemeanor offense for the improper disposal of a dead body.

Graber was released after being charged.