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Seized, Formerly Malnourished Clay County Horses Get New Homes

Bidders at the auction all the horses looked really good and each one put on about 200 pounds since they have been receiving proper feed and veterinary care these past few months. Though that's good news, there's some potentially bad news for Clay County taxpayers.
Thirty horses seized from a Clay County homeowner because they weren't being taken care of hit the auction block Thursday.

"We had some real serious rodeo producers here that bought these livestock and put them right where they're supposed to be: in the rodeo world," says Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

Twenty-one people registered to place bids on the horses, which are described as bucking horses.

The sale brought in $21,000.

Lemons says he's not sure that will be enough to fully reimburse the county for their feed and vet bills since the animals were seized in February.

"We have some other bills that came in. We have some more vet bills that came in," Lemons says. "These hands that we hired to move these horses around, we have to pay those folks, so we're probably going to lose some money, but hopefully not too awful much."

Since seizing the horses, the county had to deal with caring for the horses, a jury trial, an appeal to a higher court, and much more.

Lemons says he's glad it's all finally over.

He also hopes other ranchers have learned from this.

"Look for some help," Lemons says. There's some folks out there who will help you before you get in the condition where the sheriff has to come in and take action. I promise you, we do not want to take your horses. We are not in the horse business. This has been a burdensome hardship on myself, my staff, and this county, but we will do what we've got to do."

Lemons says bidders came in from across the country for the sale including one bidder from Colorado.

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