Equine Rescue

Montana horse breeder begins sentence for animal cruelty

Source: The Missoulian

“…five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized…”

James Leachman

James Leachman

BILLINGS – A Billings horse breeder has begun a 120-day animal-cruelty conviction sentence after the Montana Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito says 72-year-old James Leachman turned himself in at the county’s detention center Friday.

Leachman operated a horse breeding business before the U.S. Farm Services Administration foreclosed on the property in 2010. Leachman still kept more than 400 horses on the property after it was sold.

Investigators discovered five horses, some malnourished, with tight plastic bands that had caused severe leg injuries. Two died and two were euthanized.

The Billings Gazette reports Leachman was sentenced to five years in jail with all but 120 days suspended.

Leachman has asked a judge to allow him to serve his sentence at his home for health and other reasons.

18 replies »

  1. And were the horses allowed to “serve their sentence” at home because of their health? The fact that he’s older & not healthy didn’t stop him from doing this to these horses! It shouldn’t prevent him from serving his sentence – which frankly, isn’t long enough. If judges actually imposed stiff sentences for animal abuse – who knows – it might help to stop it! So NO, I don’t think this man should get away with this.



    August 30, 2014

    The Bureau of Land Management, Native Wild Horse & Burro holding facility, located in Palomino Valley, Nevada, has taken a turn for the worse.

    Last year, citizens of Nevada and from across the country, including veterinarians, many animal and equine welfare organizations expressed deep concern, for the welfare of the horses and burros held within this facility, over inhumane treatment, animal abuse and neglect, caused by failure to simply provide basic needed shelter and more drinking water troughs, to prevent doctor warned heat
    related and suffering and death, for many horses and burros.

    Located in high desert, approximately 1,800 horses and burros held within the BLM’s, Palomino Valley Center, are fenced within cages, with no shelter, provided no way to escape, life threatening Summer desert sun’s blazing hot rays, or Winter’s freezing cold storms.

    A visit to the BLM’s, PVC facility, yesterday by wild horse advocate and Nevada, resident Patty Bumgarner, uncovered further health and safety concerns for horses, burros and also near by humans. A large insect infested manure filled pond, caused by this week’s rains, is located standing, openly behind the horse pens. Bumgarner, noted swarming insects flying and birds gathering eating
    insects, but no BLM staff was seen working to alleviate the apparent health hazard. This week’s rains, created concern of flooding upon the playa, that caused Burning Man to delay their opening, is located near the BLM’s Palomino Valley Center, facility.

    Dr. Lester Friedlander BA DVM, former Chief USDA Inspector, President of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, expressed his medical opinion about this situation: “The stagnant water is a very good breeding ground for Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are carriers of the West Nile Virus and other Diseases.. It has been well documented thru out the United States that horses got sick and then died.
    Veterinarians who did the Necropsies of these horses did isolate the West Nile Virus. It should be of Public Health Significance that no water lay stagnant, to prevent Mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water; since West Nile Virus affects both Humans and Animals. The stagnant Water should be drained or kept moving until it is dispersed into the soil.”

    Upon Bumgarner’s arrival at approximately 11:30 am., she visited the BLM air conditioned offices and heard acting Director Jeb Beck, instructing several BLM employees to keep the water cool in the troughs, for the horses. There was no discussion, to erect needed shelters, nor to remedy the standing water pond. When Bumgarner, left the facility just before noon, the temperature already had
    risen to 92 degrees, with an expected high temperature forecast of 97 degrees. The Bureau of Land Management pens are mainly barren, shelterless and in full Sun, barren soil in 104 degree temperatures may reach 148 degrees or
    higher, posing serious risk for the captive horses and burros.

    Photo: Patty Bumgarner, large still water pond provides a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, BLM’s Palomino Valley Center, Nevada

    PHOTO: Patty Bumgarner, BLM’s Palomino Valley Center, located in high desert, a burro seeks shade beneath another burro,


  3. What the heck kind of Sentencing is THAT ??????? I can only hope he is wearing some extremely tight ankle bracelets !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and not allowed to eat >>>>>>>.


  4. I could never figure out just HOW anyone, with such malevolence, could be so cruel to any living thing. Maybe it would have just done as well to end the suffering by outright euthanizing them if he could not (or would not) care for them the way one would expect an experienced breeder should.

    Yeah, I believe he got off very light. Idaho is not too far off, but then again – animal cruelty in Idaho is charged as a felony, moreso than is charged towards sex predators who prey on little children!!!

    I don’t know, but I just have a different way of interacting with any creature. They are living, feeling beings too.

    – Rev. Dragon’s Eye


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