A 44-year-old rural Eudora man pleaded not guilty to an animal cruelty charge Monday in which he’s accused of neglecting to care for his Shetland pony, prosecutors said.
A judge scheduled John Michael Steffen’s next hearing on the charge, which is a misdemeanor, for Aug. 9. Douglas County prosecutors and animal welfare investigators said last month the 13-year-old pony had not had proper care for its hooves, which had overgrown several inches, started to curl and made it difficult for the pony to walk.
Investigators said a veterinarian determined it had been more than a year since the pony had received care for its hooves, and the veterinarian and a farrier were able to help the pony, named CoCo, recover.
The pony was being held in foster care at another location, and investigators were seeking to get the pony put up for adoption.
In April sheriff’s officers checked on the pony at Steffen’s property in the 1900 block of North 1200 Road.