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Lemarr trial continues

Horse owner, veterinarian testify about horses’ condition

NEW ULM — An Iowa horse owner and a veterinarian from Iowa testified Wednesday in a four-day jury trial for a 44-year-old rural Sleepy Eye woman facing 20 misdemeanor counts of animal mistreatment in a Brown County District Court.

In November 2020, seven horses and three donkeys were reported to be malnourished at Candi J. Lemarr’s Sapphire Equestrian Farm.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office brought a veterinarian to the farm after receiving a complaint from an individual who boarded horses at the farm.

Stacey L. Meyer of Fayetteville, Iowa testified Wednesday that she and Lemarr had an agreement in which Meyer supplied and horses, Lemarr trained them, and they would split any horse sale profits 50-50.

Responding to photos of her horses shown in court, Meyer testified her horses had “protruding ribs and hips, sunken eyes, were very dehydrated, emaciated and covered with mud and manure” after they were returned to her from Lemarr’s farm.

Meyer testified that after the horses were returned to her, they put on “considerable weight” in the following months.

Lemarr’s attorney, James J. Kuettner of Mankato, accused Meyer of selling the horses out from under Lemarr so she didn’t have to pay her for horse training services rendered.

Meyer testified her business partner, Tami Bailey, sold a mare that was under Lemarr’s care.

“We agreed to split horse sales profits,” Meyer testified. “I supplied the horses, she (Lemarr) would do the hunter-jumper (horse) training.”

In addition, Meyer testified that one of her horses had “rain rot” (a skin infection caused by bacteria on a horses’ skin) when it was returned to her from Lemarr’s farm.

Meyer’s veterinarian, Dr. Amanda Elston, testified that Meyer called her about the condition of her horses after they were returned to her from Lemarr’s farm.

Elston testified she rated the body condition Meyer’s horse, a thoroughbred named “Tuesday’s Prayer,” 1 out of 9 (one being worst, nine being best), based on sight.

“The horse was extremely emaciated. You could see ribs, spine, scapula (shoulder bone) and multiple abrasions, none of which required medical treatment,” Elston testified. She rated the body condition of another horse, “Need To Know,” owned by Meyer that was returned from Lemarr’s farm, 2 out of 9 in November 2019.

“That horse was definitely emaciated with very little fat cover. Those horses should not be ridden. They had generous appetites as well. To me, poor nutrition was the most likely culprit. The (horses) were very hungry,” Elston testified.

Elston testified she visited the horses in January 2020 at Meyer’s farm and rated their body condition at 3 or 4.

“They needed more weight gain for breeding or training,” Elston testified. “No disease or process caused their weight loss. It was poor nutrition.”

In cross examination, Elston testified that (horse) evaluation bias could skew the result and that if you don’t touch a horse, the rating is only an estimate.

The next witness was Tami Bailey, Meyer’s business associate and a Collier County, Fla. federal and state grant manager, who testified on Zoom from North Fort Myers, Fla.

Bailey testified that she created nutritional plans to help rescue horses gain weight, some of which she obtained from squatter facilities in Louisiana and Arizona.

Bailey testified she first fed her rescue horses hay and grain, free range grass hay, then slowly introduced Purina feed to the horses.

The owner of two horses that Lemarr cared for, Bailey testified she bred one of them, “JJ, Jupiter’s Journey” in hopes of preparing the thoroughbred horse for an Iowa State University sale until she was directed to find an alternate option for the horse.

“Iowa State University determined JJ didn’t have what it takes to be a race horse,” Bailey testified. “He was at the bottom of the pecking order, the first foal, neglected and picked on by the herd.”

The jury trial continues Thursday in Brown County District Court.

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