Charges filed in two Fresno County horse-neglect cases
Felony animal cruelty charges have been filed against two men accused of horse neglect.
Dana Thomas Kahler, 59, faces 12 counts of depriving horses of food, drink and shelter. In December, investigators went to property that Kahler leases near Clovis and found 19 horses in various stages of neglect. One was euthanized.
He is out of jail on $60,000 bail and will be arraigned Monday in Fresno County Superior Court.
In a separate case, the District Attorney’s Office also filed four counts of animal neglect against Jose Francisco Romo, 48, of Sanger. About a dozen neglected horses were taken from his Sanger-area ranch in February. Romo was a $40 million Super Lotto jackpot winner in 2001.
Both Kahler and Romo signed ownership of their horses over to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The discovery at Kahler’s ranch was one of the largest of its kind in Fresno County at the time. Since December, more than 60 horses have been turned in to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which is believed to be a record number.
A $20,000 warrant was issued for Romo after the case against him was filed last week. A court date has not been set.
The SPCA continues to care for five horses from Romo’s ranch and 14 from Kahler’s ranch, said spokeswoman Beth Caffrey.
SPCA officers have investigated more than 450 complaints of animal cruelty and neglect this year, she said. “The vast majority of complaints that we receive are resolved through education and a willingness on the part of the (owner) to correct their behavior. Unfortunately, in some cases, the level of neglect or cruelty goes beyond the point where education is no longer a viable option. We applaud the decision by the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute such cases.”
A third horse-neglect case involving 15 race horses owned by Kathy Jones is under investigation, said Sonia De La Rosa, a Fresno County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.
She said the district attorney returned the Jones case to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office for additional investigation.
By Marc Benjamin