Couple sues county officials for putting down donkey

December 20, 2014

BUTTERNUT A Wisconsin couple is suing Ashland County officials for euthanizing their mammoth donkey named Jethro.

Patricia and Dwight Westmore filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday alleging the county unfairly seized Jethro and four horses from their Butternut ranch last December after a report of maltreatment. Despite their objections, the county euthanized Jethro, who the Westmore's say was recovering from an injury.

One of the four horses Ashland County took into custody later died after it was returned in August.

Patricia Westmore was charged by the county in March with four misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals.

Glenn Stoddard, the Westmores' attorney, told the Daily Press of Ashland (http://bit.ly/1w6ElCB ) his clients house ill and elderly horses before they're slaughtered. That's why a concerned caller and animal control officials might have seen "sickly looking" animals, he said.

"This situation reads a lot like plot of a bad novel," Stoddard said.

Stoddard argues Ashland County officials should have had a warrant to search the Westmores' property and seize Jethro and the horses. Their lawsuit names the county, animal control officials and several police as defendants.

The Westmores are seeking damages for the "permanent loss of personal property and animal companionship," plus attorney, veterinary and burial fees for Jethro and their horse.