People sometimes abandoned their animals when their property is foreclosed on. This does not normally mean the original owners are NOT responsible for them or have given up ownership. Who owns and is responsible for these horses? Especially when there are unbreakable plastic leg bands which meant they were unable to move freely on 5 of them. That in essence appears to be the questions before the MT Supreme Court when it comes to the fate of 800 horses abandoned by Jim Leachman. ~ HfH
From: Billings Gazette
By: Jan Falstad
Billings livestock breeder James Leachman has filed with the Montana Supreme Court an appeal of the conviction he received for abusing horses on his ranch east of Billings.
Leachman, acting as his own attorney, filed notice last fall that he intended to appeal. On Feb. 24, he officially filed his complaint, insisting prosecutors hadn’t proved he owned the horses.
In his appeal, Leachman said he “had NO physical control over these horses” as he lived over 20 miles away in Billings.
He claims in the filing the horses were controlled by the Stovall family, which bought his former Home Place ranch, which he lost in a foreclosure sale.
Following a weeklong trial in December 2012, a Justice Court jury convicted Leachman of abusing at least five of the more than 800 horses he kept mostly on a ranch 16 miles east of Billings. The unbreakable plastic leg bands he placed on most of the horses caused the deaths of at least five horses after he failed to adjust or remove them, according to court records.
He was sentenced to 120 days in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility as part of a five-year sentence and $5,000 fine. He remains free on bail during the appeal process.