An Osage County rancher accused of starving dozens of horses is headed to court. Criminal charges have been filed against Ralph Dale Randall.
The News on 6 first brought you shocking pictures of the animals back in April. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin returned to Osage County for an update on the horses' condition
Veterinarian Dr Jan Johnson: â€œthey're feeling a lot better, they run to the food now, you see em buck a little bit playing." But still a far cry from healthy. â€œOh my gosh, the time it's gonna take for them to get back to normal."
Three weeks ago, just days after Osage County Sheriff's deputies confiscated them from the 3 R Ranch near Ponca City, the horses appeared listless and bony, some too weak to stand. Now, When Dr Jan Johnston walks among them, she feels encouraged- she says amazingly only one has died.
Two newborn colts are thriving. As for the rest, their ribs are still visible, but she says most are slowly gaining weight. Although lice are still a problem. Johnston is most concerned about the yearling colts, the weakest of the bunch. She believes they had to fight for what little food, if any was available. Their progress is much slower than the rest. "Their growth will be stunted, they're never gonna be a hundred percent."
The horsesâ€™ owner, Dale Randall, faces 38 felony counts of cruelty to animals, one for each horse. Each carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Prosecutor Keith Sims says itâ€™s this type of crime that demands attention in rural Osage County. "When we see a case that appears to be of this magnitude I think it affects the whole county all the residents, particularly those that are in that business of raising stock and I just think it needs to be addressed."
Randall is set to appear in court Friday for an arraignment. His attorney tells the News on 6, because his client has not yet seen the charges, he is not prepared to comment.