A woman facing 36 charges of animal cruelty will be in court Friday. Tory Morgan was arrested earlier this month after deputies in Roane County found several dead horses on her property near Reedy. About 20 other emaciated horses were seized from her property.
The horses have since been in the care of the Roane County Sheriff's Department.
A temporary quarantine placed on the surviving horses by the state veterinarian has been lifted. The results of a required Coggins test came back negative according to deputies.
Deputies say Thursday was the deadline for Morgan to file a written response to the seizure notice filed by deputies in magistrate court. By close of business Thursday a secretary in magistrate court said paperwork had been filed by Morgan related to this topic. That could mean that she is forfeiting the right to ask for the horses back. There is still an appeal period and the civil issue will have to be taken up in court, according to Roane County Prosecuting Attorney Josh Downey. If Morgan does attempt to ask for the horses to be returned she could have to pay a bond on each horse to cover the cost of their care.
Morgan will be in court before Magistrate Ronald White Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. for a pre- trial hearing related to the criminal charges of animal cruelty.
There are currently 20 seized horses being cared for by a sheriff's deputy who lives near the facility where they are being housed. Downey says the public has been so generous with donations of feed and cash, there has been very little expense to tax payers so far, relating to the care of the horses.
Until both the civil matter regarding the horses has been finalized in court, Downey says they cannot be placed in foster homes or made available for adoption. He says the Roane County Animal Shelter will likely be involved in screening potential adopters and processing applications if the horses are able to be adopted.
Deputies say this makes the third large seizure of horses in the county just in the last 13 or 14 years.
If you would like to help with the care of the horses you are asked to contact the Roane County Sheriff's Office. At this time they ask that rather than purchasing grain, you send money for them to purchase grain. Deputies caring for the horses say they need to keep the type of feed consistent to help with their recovery. Hay is also needed.
Downey says the horses will likely remain in the care of the county for at least a few more weeks.