Sumner man arrested after more than 60 horses found neglected - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sumner man arrested after more than 60 horses found neglected

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BREMER COUNTY (KWWL) - Dozens of trailers were lined up along Usher Avenue in Sumner on Wednesday, ready to round up and transport more than sixty neglected horses.

Authorities in Bremer County arrested Steven Frahm, 59, of Sumner on Tuesday.

They believe he is responsible for neglecting dozens of horses at at 1871 Usher Avenue in Sumner.

Frahm has been charged with ten counts of animal neglect, all simple misdemeanors, in addition to one serious misdemeanor of animal neglect.

Bremer County Sheriff Dan Pickett said Frahm posted a $1,000 bond hours after being transported to jail on Tuesday.

If Frahm is found guilty of the animal neglect charges, Pickett said he could face thousands of dollars in fines as well as more than a year in jail.

According to Pickett, Frahm has cooperated with authorities, and he even helped them round up the horses.

"He had too many to manage and that's why it turned into this," said Pickett.

According to Pickett, six animals had to be euthanized after a veterinarian determined they were suffering.

"We just felt when we got to this point we had no other choice but to do what we did," said Pickett.

Neighbor and acquaintance Donna Zell said she didn't think the animals' poor conditions were out of malice.

"I don't think he was intentionally breeding them," she said. "But, they kept breeding on and on and on, so he'd have 10 or 11 in the summertime, and it just got to be too big."

Animal Services Manager at the Animal Rescue League Josh Colvin said this was one of the worst cases of animal neglect he's seen in more than a decade.

"Just the conditions that I saw -- there's skinny horses, definitely skinny horses, ones that definitely weren't maintained," said Colvin.

Colvin said some animals were taken to Des Moines and others were transported to an undisclosed, remote location where people will try to rehabilitate them.

"This is one of the worst, just because of the numbers," Colvin said. "I mean, when you have that many, it's difficult to maintain, especially with just one or two people."

Pickett said the Bremer County Sheriff's Office began receiving complaints about possible animal neglect on Usher Avenue in November of 2013, however, according to a press release, Frahm tried to work with authorities and a veterinarian to improve the health of the animals.

Pickett told KWWL authorities tried to convince Frahm to downsize the number of horses he owned, however, he did not adhere to the recommendation. Frahm declined to comment Wednesday.

KWWL's Michael Crowe contributed to this report.
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