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It’s a growing complaint in Muskingum County. Marian Thompson’s horses continue to escape from her farm on Kopchak Road.
Sheriff Matt Lutz said his deputies were called to the property on May 17th, 18th and 19th after neighbors reported that the horses were running at large. Lutz said the fencing might not be secure enough to contain the approximately 60 horses on the farm, and the animals pose a serious threat to drivers on Interstate 70.
"There’s a chance that Mrs. Thompson or a caretaker could be charged with a minor misdemeanor for animals running at large if we can prove that they’re not trying to take care of the problems," said Lutz.
The sheriff’s office has not been able to contact Thompson, but Lutz said he’s reaching out to her attorney as part of the investigation. He said the problems surrounding the horses do not give the sheriff’s office a reason to inspect the rest of the property, including the cages holding five exotic animals.
"If our officers go there right now, it would be for the investigation of the horses," said Lutz. "If they visually see something wrong while they are there, they have a legal right to be there, so if they see something that violates the law, we can obviously act on that."
Lutz said Thompson’s farm is not the only property that deputies have been called to round up the horses. He said discussions are in the works for a horse impound system. The sheriff’s office could ask a farmer to hold escaped horses until the owner pays a fee.