Arrest warrants were issued July 2 for a Vian couple accused of leaving three horses to starve to death.
Joshua Alan Karnes, 37, and Lorina Anne Karnes, 35, were both charged with cruelty to animals, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Their bonds were set at $5,000 each.
According to a report, on July 1, a Sequoyah County Sheriff’s deputy received a report about three horses that were in bad shape. Upon arrival at the location the deputy observed the three horses, which were in a fenced area visible from the road. The deputy knew one of the animals belonged to Lorina Karnes, based on having had contact with her in April regarding a light-colored horse.
A pair of deputies then walked the entire one-half acre location where the horses were enclosed and found no evidence of any hay, feed or even ground coverage, and the leaves of all the trees had been eaten as high as the horses could reach. After taking photos of the horses, the deputies noticed that a bay mare also in the enclosure had her hips and ribs showing and a paint mare had a nearly six-inch laceration on her left leg that was covered in flies and looked infected.
The deputies went to the Karnes residence and spoke with the woman about the condition of her horses. She said the reason there was no hay was because she didn’t get paid until that evening. The deputies told Karnes that was exactly what she said April 21 when they were there on a previous call about the emaciated animals. After that call, a not-for-profit group paid for a round bale of hay for the horses.
Karnes was asked to provide a copy of her hay and feed bills and a copy of a veterinarian bill where she had taken the horses for treatment. Karnes told the deputies that she and her husband had treated one of the horses themselves but she was unable to show any medicine or feed bills.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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