CHURCH HILL — A criminal summons was issued last week for a Hawkins County man accused of neglecting four horses on his property on AFG Road near Church Hill.
When a Hawkins County horse rescue agency went to the get the horses Sunday at the request of the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, the horses had reportedly been removed from the property.
Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told the Times-News Monday that a criminal summons for five counts of animal cruelty has been issued against Timothy Lee, 35, 753 AFG Road, Church Hill.
Lawson said that summons is active and hadn’t been served as of Monday afternoon.
On April 8, HCSO Deputy Josh Byrd was dispatched to Lee’s property on AFG Road in reference to horses not being cared for.
Byrd stated in his report that he observed four horses on the property that appeared to be underfed.
He then contacted University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Agent Bob Moncier, who responded to the AFG Road pasture and evaluated the horses.
Moncier told the Times-News Monday that based on the guidelines he must follow for livestock as set out by state law, his opinion was that the horses were underweight and not being fed or cared for properly.
Byrd added, “There has been several complaints in the past in which there has been an ongoing investigation. The property appears to lack a food source for the horses.”
There was no explanation Monday why there were five counts of animal cruelty but only four horses.
On Thursday, the HCSO requested that TEARS horse rescue based on Route 66 north of Rogersville take custody of the four horses. When TEARS went to Lee’s AFG Road property to get the horses Sunday, however, they were gone.
A court date for Lee can’t be set until the HCSO serves him with the criminal summons.