- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

LAKE AFTON, Kan. (AP) - Sedgwick County is looking for homes for eight horses, one of many tasks the county faces as it closes a home for troubled boys by the end of July.

Commissioners voted Wednesday to move the horses, which are ages 13 to 25, out of the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch near Lake Afton. The ranch is being closed because the county said it could not afford to operate it without more aid from the state, and lawmakers did not budget more money for the ranch during the last legislative session.

Fourteen boys will remain at the ranch until July 18 to complete summer school, with the last boy scheduled to leave July 20, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1pnLzUU ). The county hopes to move the horses to new homes by July 15.

The state paid the county $126 per boy per day but the county said it cost $200 per boy per day to operate the ranch. The Kansas Legislature gave the county $750,000 in extra funds for the current fiscal year but no additional money for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The county likely will lay off the few employees remaining at the ranch and the corrections department will distribute any usable equipment, except for the horses, the Eagle reported.

The county will do a background check on all prospective owners, visit the proposed new homes and require veterinary references, public safety director Marvin Duncan said. Some of the horses have medical needs and potential owners must be willing to provide that care.

Ten people have already expressed interest, Duncan said. If the county gets more prospective owners than it has horses, a committee will choose the best homes. New owners will not be charged to adopt the horses and will receive equipment such as blankets, saddles, soap and combs, breast collars, bridles and cinches.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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