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Trial Starts in Clay County Horse Custody Case

Testimony has wrapped for the day in the trial to determine who gets custody of 30 horses seized from a Clay County ranch.

Testimony has wrapped for the day in the trial to determine who gets custody of 30 horses seized from a clay county ranch.

The animals were found on property north of Henrietta at the end of February where deputies say they also found the skeletal remains of a horse.

The owner, Byron Brehmer, is also facing criminal charges for cruelty to animals.

The County Attorney Seth Slage started their case by painting a picture of the scene Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Williams found in Mid-February.

They said Deputy Williams found was called out to check on a horse that a passerby thought was dead, he arrived to the ranch to find a baron pasture with no hay on the ground.

Williams says he witness one horse, who was trying to muster up the strength the stand.

When he saw other horses in similar condition, Williams says a seizure warrant was executed.

Deputy Williams said Brehmer did say he was in Oklahoma buying hay when he called him to tell him about his horse.

However, this afternoon the owner's attorney told the jury that the extreme weather conditions over the last few months, plus the on-going drought, was to blame for the horses condition.

Brehmer's lawyer says Clay County only cares about the money they collect from the rodeo horses.

And county attorney's brought local veterinarians to the stand who examined each horse about a week after seizure.

The vets rated each horse on a body conditions scale.

On this 1 to 9 scaled, with 9 being overweight and one being weak, their reports showed most horses were labeled a 2-3.

Deputy Williams says he thinks Brehmer's heart is in the right place but he did not have the means to handle the amount of horses.

The trial wrapped up after Deputy Williams testimony, and is supposed to start back up tomorrow at 3 p.m. And is expected to continue through Wednesday.

Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons is expected to take the stand Wednesday.
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