A Eudora man, who faces misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Osage County, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that county officials wrongfully seized his horses in the case.
Salah Ibrahim’s attorneys filed the lawsuit Monday claiming Osage County Sheriff’s officers used a veterinarian who had little experience caring for horses as part of a plan to seize the horses from property Ibrahim owned in Osage County.
Osage County prosecutors earlier this year charged Ibrahim with one count of cruelty to animals and one count of unlawfully disposing of dead animals, both misdemeanors.
Prosecutors allege Ibrahim abandoned 12 horses from April 1 to April 16 in a field he owns and failed to provide food, water, protection and other care the animals needed.
But in the civil lawsuit, Ibrahim’s Lawrence attorneys, Mark Emert and Brennan Fagan, claim their client provided adequate shelter, food and water for the animals.
The attorneys acknowledged in the lawsuit that it was a harsh winter and that at least one horse did not survive, although “many farm animals died across the state of Kansas.”
The suit also alleges Jacob Henry, a sheriff’s deputy, called Ibrahim on April 15 and expressed concern for the horses, offered to take two of the horses into his own possession and then the next day demanded that Ibrahim “surrender his rights to all of the horses.”
The plaintiff claims the next day Sheriff Laurie Dunn and other officers prohibited one of Ibrahim’s employees from coming onto the property as sheriff’s officers used all-terrain vehicles to corral the horses and later send them to Emporia.
But Ibrahim’s attorneys claim officers did not have a warrant or court order and that they ignored the advice of a veterinarian that the horses could stay on the property. They also said officers stressed and harmed the horses when they corralled them.
Prosecutors have said authorities found two horses dead on Ibrahim’s property and that after the horses were seized another one died.
Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones, who is not named in the suit, said the civil case would have “no effect on the criminal case whatsoever.” A two-day criminal trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 14.
Ibrahim is suing the Osage County Commission, Dunn and Henry on three counts, accusing them of violating his rights to protect his property, trespassing and depriving Ibrahim of his property.
Dunn said Wednesday she was unaware of the lawsuit and could not comment.
According to the suit, Ibrahim is seeking $75,000 in actual damages on each of the three counts. He’s also seeking punitive damages.