Couple takes plea in horse neglect case
A couple charged in June on felony animal cruelty charges took a plea agreement in court Thursday in return for two years’ probation.
A criminal complaint filed in June alleged that three horses owned by Greg and Lana Lutz of Quail Creek Road were “emaciated and in need of medical attention.” The horses had been taken to a care facility.
According to a report by Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, an investigation had been ongoing at the Lutz property between Feb. 12 and May 1. On May 1, Animal Control officers executed a search warrant at the Lutz property and impounded two horses. A third horse had been seized earlier this year.
Greg Lutz subsequently appealed Nevada County’s seizure of his horses to the Board of Supervisors, but the supervisors voted unanimously to deny the appeal.
Lutz claimed he never received an April 29 notice of the pending seizure of two of three horses sent by Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Smethers — but Sheriff’s Sgt. Sam Brown told the board Smethers’ original letter, which referred to an April 28 “pre-seizure hearing” held at Lutz’s home, was signed and mailed to Lutz.
The Lutzes each were charged with three felony counts of “failing to provide proper food and sustenance” to a bay gelding, a sorrel mare and a white mare. They also were charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting or delaying a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of concealing evidence after he reportedly tried to conceal two horses by taking them away from the property.
In Nevada County Superior Court on Thursday, they each pleaded no contest to one count of concealing evidence in return for a potential sentence of two years probation and credit for time served. They must pay restitution, are not allowed to own horses while on probation, and are subject to search terms regarding horses, said Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, e-mail email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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