The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

April 19, 2010

Rural Sarcoxie woman charged with abusing Cherokee County animals

COLUMBUS, Kan. - — A rural Sarcoxie, Mo., woman was charged Monday in Cherokee County in connection with starving horses and burros that were seized Feb. 27 from property east of Baxter Springs.

Cherokee County Attorney John Bullard charged Kandise Couch, age unavailable, with misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor unlawful disposal of animal carcasses.

Neighbors said Couch used to live on the Cherokee County property.

A summons delivered by a Missouri process server orders Couch to appear Monday, May 3, in Cherokee County District Court.

Officers with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department seized three horses and two burros after a neighbor reported the animals were allegedly starving. Two dead horses and what authorities suspect are the bones of a third horse were found on the property when the other animals were seized.

The charge of animal cruelty alleges that Couch abandoned the animals without making provisions for their care or failed to provide the animals with food and water.

The charge of unlawful disposal of carcasses alleges that Couch permitted dead animals to remain in a field, creating a potential health hazard.

Since the seizure, the animals have been cared for by a landowner who doesn’t want to be identified, according to Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

The animals initially were kept in an enclosure apart from the property owner’s other horses. Groves said the caregiver reports that the animals are doing well.

“They are now running in the pasture with the other horses he has, enjoying the space and fresh grass,” Groves said.

Making a case

Witnesses listed on the complaint against Kandise Couch are Cherokee County Chief Deputy Gary Allen, Sheriff David Groves, veterinarian Kevin Kemp and Jane Starina, the neighbor who reported the animals to the Sheriff’s Department.

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Carthage, Jasper County