- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - A Lafayette man who owns a home where one horse was found dead and another emaciated faces two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

An initial hearing for James Fitzsimons is scheduled for Sept. 29. He was charged late last week, according to The Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/1qnHs67 ).

Fitzsimons could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press on Monday. A phone number listed for him was disconnected.

Court records did not indicate he has hired an attorney.

A police report says when the horses were found in April, Fitzsimons said they were thin because “he had a very hard time finding hay to feed them over the long, harsh winter.”

Tippecanoe County animal control officer April Keck, who filed the police report, said the horses had resorted to eating tree bark to try to get nourishment.

Jamie Showers, facility manager at Indiana Horse Rescue Central, who cared for the emaciated horse after it was rescued, said she was pleased to hear charges had been filed. She said the horse, named Little Bit, was the worst case of neglect she’s seen.

“That she was still standing that skinny, she most certainly wasn’t far behind her partner” in death, Showers said.

Little Bit stayed at Indiana Horse Rescue Central until being adopted last month.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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