Idaho Ranchers Face Cruelty Charges

Three Idaho ranchers are facing multiple animal cruelty charges in connection with the alleged maltreatment of nearly 100 animals, including 30 horses.

On Jan. 18 personnel from the Payette County Sheriff's Department, the Idaho Department of Agriculture and the Idaho Humane Society (IHS) removed the animals from a Payette County ranch 50 miles from Boise, said Pat Vance, director of shelter operations for the IHS. Several goats, sheep, llamas, pigs, a dog, and a cow were also removed from the property.

Vance said the horses ranged from 1 to 5 on the Henneke Body Condition Scale. The horses are receiving rehabilitative care.

"They're all doing pretty well," Vance said.

Payette County Deputy Steve Burgess said Janene Martin was charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty, five of which are connected to the horses. Herbert Warren Holtz was charged with 47 animal cruelty counts, 24 of which are related to the horses. Robert Wilson was charged with one horse-related animal cruelty count. Each misdemeanor count carries penalties of up to six months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.

Martin, Holtz, and Wilson were unavailable for comment.

The ranchers will appear in court on Feb. 16 to answer the charges. A custody hearing for the animals will also take place at that time, Burgess said.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.