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Cleveland County man faces animal cruelty charges

BY JANE GLENN CANNON Published: December 10, 2008
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NORMAN — Animal control officers have taken into protective custody eight horses belonging to a Cleveland County man whom they allege is not properly caring for them. This is the second time this year the officers have seized the horses.

Leslie Paul Lambeth, 71, faces six felony counts of animal cruelty stemming from a seizure in March. Authorities filed one additional count of animal cruelty against him in Cleveland County District Court Friday.

Lambeth’s attorney, Fred Shaeffer, said the horses taken into custody are old and are in a deteriorating condition because of their age and not because of neglect.

In March, animal control officers responded to a telephone complaint that animals were malnourished on land at 14400 Bethel Road. The officers took 27 horses off the property that day.

All the horses were returned nine days later, Shaeffer said. Charges were filed in connection with six of them.

"These horses are being taken care of. They have adequate water. Mr. Lambeth feeds them, and there is grass on the property. The horses are old, and some of them probably should be put down, but he doesn’t have the heart to do that. I think they’ve just singled out my client, and I don’t understand why,” Shaeffer said.

Animal control officers have the horses under the care of a veterinarian. They allege Lambeth kept some of the horses confined where they can’t get to food or water and that some of them are sick and in need of veterinary care.

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