What are the Sheriffs in TN doing for Animals?

We found out about a group of horses that were strays / abandoned.  A concerned person got them into a safe area, but could not keep them.  We contacted the Sheriff department for their county and told them we would be willing to come get them, but we would need a paper from them stating how long we would need to hold them before we could put them into our adoption program.  We started getting the run-around, which is common, because in TN there is no law regarding how long to hold stray livestock.  The law says companion animals must be held 72 hours, but specifically excludes horses and livestock.  We have helped sheriff departments before with stray horses along the road, and we are happy to help, but they cannot tell us how long to hold them, and just leave us hanging.  We can’t blame them, the law simply does not exist to give sheriff departments direction on how long to hold abandoned livestock.  We told the sheriff if they could just give us a time frame of how long to hold them we would come get them, at no expense to them.  They finally came back with a time of 45 days, and we would have to run newspaper ads multiple times trying to find the owner, etc.  We know there are no laws that state any of this.  We then found out the next day some shocking news…

…The sheriff department had a man they had previously arrested in their county on 8 counts of animal abuse towards horses come pick up the stray horses!  This man also ships horses to slaughter from what we are told.  We were shocked by this, but this is how things often work in TN.  It’s extremely frustrating.  With a little research we were able to find a lot about this person, who the Sheriff decided would make the horse problem go away.  He has also been convicted of multiple counts of felony theft of livestock.

  ” A Springfield man has been indicted on eight counts of cruelty to animals stemming from an investigation into the condition of several horses on his property.  Lee Coleman Krisle, 55, was arrested Wednesday Feb. 27. He has since been released on a $5,000 bond, according to the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office website. The indictment claims Krisle failed to provide needed food and water, along with proper shelter and care for eight animals – seven horses and one mule. Documents also describe the mule as having an injured leg with wire wrapped around it. “The skin was pulled away from the flesh with a piece of wire wrapped around it,” said LeighAnn McCollum, Tennessee state director of the Humane Society of the United States.  The horses appeared to be malnourished and their hip and rib bones were visible, she said.”

You can more about this story, Click Here.

The horses (seen below) when he was arrested on animal cruelty charges were in horrific condition.  It boggles our minds that the Sheriff would chose to place these horses with this man.  You can read a lot more details about his previous charges of animal abuse involving horses, click here.

Local Tennessean’s are very distraught when they find out about the situation, and we want to thank them for being the advocates for these horses, and helping us as they are several hours from our shelter.  They have met with us to go to the District Attorney, to the court, to the sheriff department, and they all gave them the run-around.  We would like to say a huge “Thank you!” to Fox 17 out of Nashville for doing a story about this frustrating case.  To watch the news clip, click here.

Under all this pressure the Sheriff is saying they are going to remove the horses from the convicted felon and put them with a local rescue.  We are going to keep a very close eye on this situation.  This is exactly why we need better laws in TN for horses and other livestock!  Law enforcement and District Attorney’s have shared with us their frustrating of the vague and antiquated laws that leave them with no prosecutorial powers to help horses.  We have started a petition and have almost 7,000 signatures!  When we hit 10,000 signatures we are planning on hand delivering them to Rep Johnny Shaw, who has expressed interest in helping update the laws for horses in TN.  Please sign this petition, we need more signatures to make this happen – click here.

Another current situation involves big-lick animal cruelty.  We attended a protest of a big-lick show at the Maury County Park.  After the protest Jason and Tawnee purchased tickets to go into the big-lick show to both raise awareness with their “Big Lick” animal cruelty t-shirts, and to document the horses in the ring with live Facebook video feed.  At a prior big-lick show at this park one of our volunteers was threatened with arrest because she was taking pictures.  There were no signs indicating that no pictures were allowed, and being a public park, you have the constitutional freedom to take pictures.  The Sheriff, Bucky Roland, was sued and this year he signed an affidavit agreeing to uphold the constitutional rights of all citizens at the big-lick show, but pressure from the big-lick folks apparently changed his mind.

After looking at the horses in the show-ring, Jason and Tawnee decided to walk around the park on a public road.  There were no signs saying it was a closed area.  As they were walking around the park, 2 Sheriff officers drove up to them, and ordered them to leave the area.  Of course they complied and went to talk to a higher authority.  The deputies make initial contact with Jason and Tawnee at the 9:30 mark – click here.

You can see on this map where Jason and Tawnee were initially stopped by the deputies: while walking on Maury County Park Drive.  They were not walking through the inspection area or through horse trailers, but the big lick people don’t like anyone who doesn’t agree with their methods of achieving the big lick.  They sought the help of Mr. Clant Seay who has previously sued the sheriff for alleged violaton of his First Amendment rights. The sheriff, Mr Bucky Roland, was called to the horse show. He told Jason he would arrest him if he didn’t move from the “restricted area.”  The lawsuit seeks only nominal monetary award (i.e. $100), but, more importantly, an order from a federal court for the Sheriff to not interfere with citizens rights protected by the Constitution.  This story made front page of the Columbia Daily Herald.   You can read a lot more details about this case, click here.

Again, we would like to ask you to please sign the petition, you do not have to be a citizen of Tennessee to sign it.  It seems like a 3rd world country when it comes to the laws protecting horses in Tennessee.  If we don’t stand up for the horses and what’s right, who will?  To sign the petition click here.

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