07/31/2013 3:25PM

Murtys plead not guilty to animal cruelty charges


Duane and Wayne Murty, the brothers charged with second-degree animal cruelty after neglected horses were found on a central Kentucky property they leased, entered not-guilty pleas to those charges Monday in Woodford District Court, the Lexington Herald-Leader has reported.

The Murtys were arrested on July 25. According to their arrest warrant, witness Susan Jones said she found a total of 29 horses at the property, a part of the former Hopewell Farm in Woodford County that the Murtys leased. Among them were five horses in what the warrant termed “an unhealthy state,” including a pair of 2-year-old fillies described as “emaciated” that were euthanized; a third horse later was found dead after the Murtys relocated the horses to Bourbon County.

The Herald-Leader reported that the remaining horses currently are under quarantine.

The Murtys told local media that the horses became sick after grazing on creeping buttercup, which can be toxic to horses.

Woodford County Animal Control and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture opened an animal neglect investigation in early July.

Hopewell, the former home of 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away, had been in receivership and sold at auction earlier this month.