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Brothers charged with animal neglect
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TOWN OF YORK - Two brothers were arrested on felony charges of animal neglect after Green County sheriff's deputies received a report of an injured horse that eventually had to be put down.

Sheriff's deputy Scott Ellefson, the Green County Sheriff's Department's only certified humane officer, said the suspects, Jason A. Brumley, 18, and James E. Brumley, 32, both of Blanchardville, were hired by Dean Reed to take care of his horses because he fled to Illinois due to warrants out for his arrest. Reed has a warrant issued by the county for driving after revocation and a warrant through Rock County for failure to appear in court.

The Brumleys were arrested Thursday, March 13 at a farm located in the W9400 block of Sawmill Road, Town of York, after a horse they were caring for had to be put down for a serious leg injury. The farm is owned by Ed Mecum.

Ellefson said he had been monitoring Mecum's farm off and on for the past three or four years. He said Jason Brumley told him he did not know how the horse became injured but noticed the injury on Monday, March 10.

Ellefson said the horse had a serious laceration to its leg with bone showing. He also said it appeared to be infected, despite evidence that the wound had residue from an antibiotic spray.

"At this point I told him to call a vet, now," Ellefson said.

The veterinarian arrived later and confirmed Ellefson's observation and told him there was no guarantee the horse would survive the injury, even with proper rehabilitation. The veterinarian said rehabilitation would end up costing thousands of dollars. Ellefson said the brothers told him they could not afford rehabilitation and had the veterinarian euthanize the horse.

Ellefson said the other 24 to 30 horses owned by Reed appeared to be in good health. He said he uses a zero to 10 scale, zero being dead or close to death and 10 being overly obese. Ellefson said the other horses, which are mostly of the painted breed, looked to be at about three to five on the scale, which he said is about ideal.

Ellefson said he was later informed by Brenda Brumley, the boys' mother, that the horse could have received the injury from barbed wire that is located in a field on the farm. He was also told by the man who provides hay for the horses that the afflicted horse could have fallen through a hole in the barn that has since been boarded up.

Ellefson said the brothers implicated Reed in the alleged crime because he told them not to take the horse to a veterinarian. Ellefson said Mecum could also be implicated if the District Attorney's office decides to press further charges.

Jason Brumley and James Brumley are each charged with one count of felony animal neglect. Ellefson said the brothers have a court date on April 28, but online records from Wisconsin Circuit Court Access did not show a court date as of Friday, March 14.

Ellefson said animal neglect cases are very difficult to charge because there needs to be obvious evidence of neglect, and this can take years of monitoring to prove.

"A lot of people don't realize that it takes this long," he said. "You have to allow something bad to happen to the animals, otherwise it won't hold up in court."

Ellefson said it's a frustrating process and that if someone feels bad for the animals and feeds them, it could only lengthen the process of building a case. He said there needs to be obvious proof of neglect in order to make a case.

"I enjoy it, but it's frustrating," he said.

Ellefson said he will continue to monitor the farm to ensure the other horses are well taken care of.