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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Owner: Horses aren't starving

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The owner of several American Saddlebred horses at a small facility west of Shelbyville denies allegations they are starving.

"I have been cleared of any wrongdoing," Robin Swindle of Highway 64 West said Monday. "I have proven all that I need to prove."

Uproar arises

Equine enthusiasts have been flooding Internet message boards, posting photos of the horses and repeatedly contacting the Bedford County Sheriff's Department and other local officials since late last week.

They claim Swindle has bought healthy horses and allowed them to starve. Swindle has told authorities she is rehabilitating already-starving horses.

"The only comment that I have to make regarding any of this is please direct all of your inquiries to the Bedford County Animal Control office. They have all my information.

"Also contact the University of Tennessee Ag Extension office and speak to John Teague (county extension agent). He is also aware of the situation. That is all the comments we have to make at this time."

Investigations

"We are aware of the situation," Sam Sells, director of Bedford County Animal Control, said Monday.

"Things have improved. At this point that's really all I can say."

Teague would only say that he's aware of the horses.

"It's confidential information and I can't discuss it," Teague said Monday.

Tennessee state law requires that a county extension agent must determine if animals are being abused before further action can be taken.

Step by step

"There's a process to that," Sheriff Randall Boyce said, of how cases of alleged animal abuse or neglect are handled.

"To start with, if we find a starved horse we're not in charge of that. Animal control takes care of it. Large animals such as horses and cattle are not under our jurisdiction. We've turned it over to John Teague."

"She told the deputies she bought the horses already starving and is feeding them back to health.

"You can't just start giving them large amounts of food immediately, You have to start them eating very slowly in small amounts. It'll take a while for a difference to be noticed. The officers who were there saw the horses eating food out of buckets."

Sheriff's response

The sheriff denied Internet-posted claims that his department has refused to investigate the horses or that he knows Swindle.

"We've answered all the calls there," Boyce said.

A deputy responded to the Swindle home Sunday morning after an occupant complained that someone was taking photos of the horses. The BCSD was also asked to check on the welfare of the home's occupants Saturday by an anonymous caller.

Swindle and her adult daughter, Larkin Brod, live at the home.

"I've never seen (Swindle), known her or rented a barn to her. None of my officers know anything about her or have any involvement with her," Boyce said.