- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The Natchez Environmental Court has found Carriage Tours owner George Vines guilty of having unsanitary stables.

The Natchez Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/PqmpVw ) Vines was acquitted of animal cruelty charges.

The citations for which Vines was on trial were written by code enforcement officer Nikki Johnson Feb. 5 at the behest of animal control officer Randy Meyers.

Vines did not testify.

With the conviction came a fine of $1,000 and $150 in court costs. Vines has until June 16 to pay his fine.



Meyers testified at trial Monday he believed the horses housed at the stables were being “tortured” because the stable property was very muddy and retained water during the winter months.

The water was retained on the lot in part, Meyers said, because horse manure wasn’t being removed in a timely enough fashion.

Johnson testified the stables smelled very strongly of animal waste.

“The backside (of the stables), I could not even go because of the smell,” she said.

Dr. Byron Garrity, a Natchez veterinarian who has treated Vines’ horses since he started the carriage tour business, said he visited the stables several times during February and had never seen a danger to the horses due to the water and the mud.

“If I had (seen something), I would have said something,” Garrity said.

Instead, Garrity said he has seen the horses cared for and their feet cleaned as part of their morning routine, and he considered their housing suitable for workhorses.

“There is always going to be an odor (at a horse barn),” Garrity said. “When the ground is wet, urine is not going to be absorbed.”

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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