Jul 28, 2014

Couple Charged for Cruel Treatment of Horses

McHenry County couple arrested for mistreating five horses.

Couple Charged for Cruel Treatment of Horses

A Harvard couple were arrested Nov. 8 for mistreating their horses.

John F. Lekich, 55, and Carla Pruitt Lekich, 55, both of Harvard were charged with five counts of Cruel Treatment of five horses that were severely underweight; five counts of Violation of Owner’s Duties for failure to provide veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering; 15 counts of Violation of Owner’s Duties for failure to provide sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water; and 15 counts of Violation of Owner’s Duties for failure to provide adequate shelter and protection from the weather.

According to the McHenry County Sheriff's Office, members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Bureau, McHenry County Animal Control and the Hooved Animal Humane Society started a joint investigation Oct. 26 regarding several horses located at 17801 Altenburg Road, Harvard that were not receiving proper care or shelter.

Officials took custody of five horses on the couple's property that were in need of veterinary care. The horses are now under the care and supervision of a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Bond for both defendants was set at $1,500 and they were given a Dec. 15 court date.

The arrests come just two weeks after a judge ruled that a woman convicted of animal cruelty would have her horses returned to her.

A jury has convicted Jamie A. Koy of 24 counts of misdemeanor charges May 24 relating to animal cruelty and neglect. 

McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies had arrested the 37-year-old Des Plaines resident on Aug. 2, 2010, when  McHenry County Animal Control removed five of her horses from a rented stable near Crystal Lake claiming they had been starved and mistreated. Two of the horses were euthanized due to their emaciated condition, according to court documents.

But while the jury found Koy guilty, McHenry County Judge Charles P. Weech ruled that Koy would keep the horses.

Weech sentenced Koy to 60 days in jail but she will not serve the time if she doesn't receive more violations during her two years of probation. Koy must pay $1,200 and undergo a psychological evaluation.

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