'Truly neglected'

County investigates Coopersville horse farm, doesn't issue charges.
Krystle Wagner
Apr 24, 2013

Horses will have to be euthanized, and property owners will have to clean up their act following an investigation by the Ottawa County Sheriff's office into a possible animal cruelty situation.

The sheriff’s investigators received a complaint after a neighbor observed horses standing in water at the farm in the 2800 block of Cleveland St. The neighbor complained the animals appeared to be malnourished.

Photos taken by another concerned citizen show horses standing in a flooded paddock. The horses' ribs and hip bones appear to be protruding through their skin as another horse lay dead beside them.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg said the Sheriff’s Department was investigating the case and had turned over an initial report to the prosecutor’s office for review of potential animal cruelty or neglect charges.

By Wednesday morning, the sheriff's office released a statement saying there would be no charges brought forth in the case. However, the farm's owners will be required to reduce the number of animals by euthanizing some of the older horses that were found to be underweight due to age.

The farm's owners, who live in Marne, will also have to repair shelters in each of the paddocks, clean up metal hazards and junk items, make sure the horses have adequate food and clean water available, and continue to regulate their remaining horses' health with veterinary check ups and vaccinations.

Nobody was at the property — which includes a barn and paddock, but no house — on Tuesday.

Ottawa County records show the Coopersville property is connected to a Marne address. The phone number for the Marne address was disconnected.

A Facebook message was sent to one of the property owners on Tuesday. That message wasn’t returned by press time.

Vanderberg said a veterinarian examined the animals and dead horse, but was unable to determine a cause of death. The veterinarian could not rule out a lightning strike or a stress-related death due to flooding. He said some of the 18 horses are “aged.”

After photos spread quickly on social media networks Tuesday, Vanderberg said he received many phone calls about the case. Some were from out of state.

“One lady was sobbing so much she could hardly talk,” he said. “It definitely struck a chord with people.”

Joy Aten of Hudsonville said the Coopersville farm is in a state of decline with broken items scattered throughout the place. Aten said she spent a few hours on a neighboring farm on the day after her friend made the complaint last week with the Sheriff's Department.

“It was a mess,” she said.

Observing the farm along its fence line, Aten said she saw horses standing in muddy water. She said some horses had wet blankets draped over them and the lone paddock was empty of hay. Some trees on the property showed signs of animals chewing on them.

Aten, who has four horses of her own, said none of the horses she could see on the farm appeared healthy.

"It was very obvious the horses were in great need and truly neglected," she said. "I myself would use the word 'abused.'"

Coopersville resident Amy Perrin, who lives a few doors from the property under investigation, said the farm has “always been like that.”

“They need to find a new home for (the horses),” she said.

Comments

Wiseone

Why were charges not issued?

ChristineLea

SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY CHARGES ARE NOT BEING PRESSED FOR NEGLECT?
PLEASE CALL WITH ME TO COMPLAIN-

616-738-4068 has a message saying Ron Frantz,THE PROSECUTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES-!
OH REALLY?????

BLOW THIS "PROSECUTOR'S OFFICES" UP WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS/EMAILS HERE:
1-616-846-8215
Prosecutor@Miottawa.org

Neighbors state this has gone on FOR YEARS, and **MANY** horses are being EUTHANIZED as I TYPE THIS b/c of ***LACK OF*** CARE/FOOD/Adequate HOUSING and vetting-
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OWNER IS COOPERATING WITH AUTHORITIES
CHARGES MUST BE FILED to LEAD BY EXAMPLE that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANIMAL ABUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.grandhaventribune.com...

dashtrick

I've sent a letter and the pictures to the White House. I live in NJ and Dc is just a stone throw away for me to drive there.

Michigan might get a new Prosecutor. This one doesn't seem to wanna do his job.
He better read up on the state laws and what is considered animal abuse , Before he shakes this one off.

rocadan

This just breaks my heart. These poor animals did nothing to deserve this treatment. These owners need to be charged. Let them stand out in the weather with no food and shelter. These horses didn't get this way over night. Their suffering has been on going for a long time.

ChristineLea

SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY CHARGES ARE NOT BEING PRESSED FOR NEGLECT?
PLEASE CALL WITH ME TO COMPLAIN-

616-738-4068 has a message saying Ron Frantz,THE PROSECUTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES-!
OH REALLY?????

BLOW THIS "PROSECUTOR'S OFFICES" UP WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS/EMAILS HERE:
1-616-846-8215
Prosecutor@Miottawa.org

Neighbors state this has gone on FOR YEARS, and **MANY** horses are being EUTHANIZED as I TYPE THIS b/c of ***LACK OF*** CARE/FOOD/Adequate HOUSING and vetting-
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OWNER IS COOPERATING WITH AUTHORITIES
CHARGES MUST BE FILED to LEAD BY EXAMPLE that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANIMAL ABUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.grandhaventribune.com...

WindChime

Typical of this area (Ottawa County/GH).....this is NOT an animal friendly county. I bet a lot of individuals are thinking, "Oh, it's just a horse." or "It's only an animal." That's not to say that there are plenty of us animal lovers/animal rights activists out there, it's just that we are out numbered.

jvanabbema

I live in Grand Haven and think this is horrible; does that make me atypical?

WindChime

What do YOU think?

rainbowjoe

I live in Grand Haven as well, and I think mistreatment of animals is wrong. Am I weird? That was a pretty ignorant statement, Windchime.

GrandHavenJohn

So the vet says there is nothing wrong with the horses other than some are old. We recently had record rainfall so the pasture is flooded. But the naaaaaayyyyy - bor lady and the Tribune say "Truly Negected". Move along people, nothing to see here.

ChristineLea

YOU MOVE ALONG you uncaring SOB!!!!!

SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY CHARGES ARE NOT BEING PRESSED FOR NEGLECT?
PLEASE CALL WITH ME TO COMPLAIN-

616-738-4068 has a message saying Ron Frantz,THE PROSECUTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES-!
OH REALLY?????

BLOW THIS "PROSECUTOR'S OFFICES" UP WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS/EMAILS HERE:
1-616-846-8215
Prosecutor@Miottawa.org

Neighbors state this has gone on FOR YEARS, and **MANY** horses are being EUTHANIZED as I TYPE THIS b/c of ***LACK OF*** CARE/FOOD/Adequate HOUSING and vetting-
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OWNER IS COOPERATING WITH AUTHORITIES
CHARGES MUST BE FILED to LEAD BY EXAMPLE that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANIMAL ABUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2vargo

I cannot comprehend why citations where not issued by the Ottawa County Sheriff Department for the mistreatment of these horses. It's obvious by photographs taken by the reporter these poor animals have not been properly fed for a long period of time, I hope this incident does not go away quietly. Maybe some national attention will get help for these poor creatures.

rocadan

Grandhavenjohn you don't get that thin during the recent rain. I realize most pastures have flooded recently but that is minor compared to their condition of weight and overall health. I am not an animal activist but I believe if you own an animal you are responsible for their care!

ChristineLea

SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY CHARGES ARE NOT BEING PRESSED FOR NEGLECT?
PLEASE CALL WITH ME TO COMPLAIN-

616-738-4068 has a message saying Ron Frantz,THE PROSECUTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES-!
OH REALLY?????

BLOW THIS "PROSECUTOR'S OFFICES" UP WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS/EMAILS HERE:
1-616-846-8215
Prosecutor@Miottawa.org

Neighbors state this has gone on FOR YEARS, and **MANY** horses are being EUTHANIZED as I TYPE THIS b/c of ***LACK OF*** CARE/FOOD/Adequate HOUSING and vetting-
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OWNER IS COOPERATING WITH AUTHORITIES
CHARGES MUST BE FILED to LEAD BY EXAMPLE that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANIMAL ABUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.grandhaventribune.com...

Belagirl

You Grandhavenjohn are an idiot!

MeanSmith

Lets not call names. But it does show your age. Probably around 10. Am I right??

Belagirl

Who's calling whom names....I am an owner of several horses and I know it would take months of neglect for them to look like they do...I presume your the wife?

joolybean28

Windchime...What makes Ottawa county/GH a not-so-pet friendly area? I live in Grand Haven and I love animals. I find this horse situation to be horrible and heart breaking. Not sure why the owners aren't being charged. Are you one of those people who take your dog for a walk and let it crap in someone elses yard and you got yelled at by the property owner? If thats what makes us not pet friendly thats your opinion. Pick up your dog poop! As for me and most people in this area we ARE pet lovers and sorry that someone rubbed you the wrong way. Do your research before posting a ignorant comment like that!

ChristineLea

SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY CHARGES ARE NOT BEING PRESSED FOR NEGLECT?
PLEASE CALL WITH ME TO COMPLAIN-

616-738-4068 has a message saying Ron Frantz,THE PROSECUTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO PRESS CHARGES-!
OH REALLY?????

BLOW THIS "PROSECUTOR'S OFFICES" UP WITH YOUR PHONE CALLS/EMAILS HERE:
1-616-846-8215
Prosecutor@Miottawa.org

Neighbors state this has gone on FOR YEARS, and **MANY** horses are being EUTHANIZED as I TYPE THIS b/c of ***LACK OF*** CARE/FOOD/Adequate HOUSING and vetting-
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OWNER IS COOPERATING WITH AUTHORITIES
CHARGES MUST BE FILED to LEAD BY EXAMPLE that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANIMAL ABUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Belagirl

Amen ChristineLea...I have called and voiced my concern...let's all voice our concern and flood your calls and emails...don't let these horses get swept away in politics.

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