Barren County horses involved in lawsuits to return to one of former owners

A group of horses involved in several lawsuits and claims over the past three and a half years will return to one of their former owners.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 2:20 PM CST
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BARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - A group of horses involved in several lawsuits and claims over the past three and a half years will return to one of their former owners, following a vote by Barren County Fiscal Court.

“These are nice, wonderful creatures, but as someone once said, we’re not in the horse business. I think that we need to end this litigation process,” said Barren County Attorney, Mike Richardson during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting.

Back in September 2019, animal control officers responded to Turner Stables, run by Greg and Brittany Turner, at Barren River Lake State Park where ten horses had been living due to complaints about the condition of the horses. One of the horses in the group was euthanized prior.

In February 2021, the Turners agreed to forfeit the nine horses in a plea agreement and Barren County took ownership of the nine horses.

One of the nine horses was brought to former Judge-Executive Micheal Hale’s property, apparently against the wishes and knowledge of the court.

In May 2022, the Fiscal Court attempted to sell the horses through a closed bidding process, but that sale was halted in June 2022 when the former owner filed suit against the county and other individuals, saying that their horses were taken illegally.

However, that case was dismissed but then appealed.

RELATED: Horse owners file lawsuit against Barren County officials, others

Most recently, at Tuesday’s Barren County Fiscal Court meeting, County Attorney Mike Richardson read off a full order before the court regarding how to handle the horses moving forward in which the court voted in favor of returning ownership of the horses to one of the former owners, Brittany Turner.

“This horse issue has been something that’s weighed on everybody’s minds. And it’s probably been the number one discussion for the county. Some people have grown frustrated with the process, I can assure you that these magistrates and your judge executive jumped on this immediately,” said Richardson.

As part of the order, all ongoing litigation will also be dropped between all parties involved.

Richardson said the court has consulted with the appropriate parties as part of the litigation stemming from the seizure of the horses and says all parties find the resolution of litigations is the best interest of Barren County.

“I’ll second... the amount of time and money that the county has spent on this. I feel it is in the best interest of Barren County, for all the citizens and tax dollars, that this decision I fully support,” said Barren County Judge-Executive Jamie Bewley Byrd.

At the beginning of January of this year, Hale and his wife filed a lien against the county for over $17,168.10 in regard to the horse that he kept on his property.

“We’ll reserve any claims against Micheal Hale for the lien filed on the one horse,” Richardson read as part of one of the orders.