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State law blocks felony charges against man accused of abusing horses

Staff Report • Feb 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM

According to the Morristown Citizen-Tribune, if Steven Donald Aaron, of Lenior City, had allegedly starved dogs or cats he would be facing serious legal trouble. But because he is accused of starving 15 horses state law says he faces only misdemeanor charges."Under the current law, you can take a horse out and hang him from a tree and get a slap on the wrist," said Stephanie Moore, director of the Jefferson County Humane Society."We were seeking to have this man charged with 15 counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty," Moore told the Citizen-Tribune, but "we were informed that Tennessee does not have felony animal cruelty charges for livestock."Aaron was arrested Jan. 15 at an abandoned farm he owns on Zircle Road in Dandridge.Investigators found 14 severely malnourished horses on the property. Another horse was found dead near a stream.

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