Dead Horse Raises Stink for County Residents

January 3, 2007--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CST

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR--If you live in a city, there are a number of ordinances to cover anything from trash pick up to building codes. But if you live outside the city limits, there are fewer regulations.

It's an odd way to start your Christmas morning...a dead horse in your backyard.

"Kind of makes you sick to your stomach," said Craighead County resident Glennie Blanchard.

Blanchard and her family, the Barnett's, live just north of Jonesboro. Blanchard enjoys living outside the city because it allows her to spend time with her grandchildren.

"I didn't have any problems until that dead horse got down there," said Blanchard.

However, since Christmas day, the family has avoided the backyard because of a dead horse on the adjoining property.

"We don't know what the horse died of and would you want those kind of germs floating around?" asked Blanchard.

It is believed the animal died of colic and because of miscommunication the owner didn't find out until the last day.

"The sad thing is animals live and animals die. Unlike small animals, larger animals are harder to dispose of properly," said Wannda Turner from Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

The problem for Blanchard is she lives 200 yards past the Jonesboro city limits. After talking to officials in Craighead County, they say there is no ordinance requiring the animal owner to dispose of the carcass. And apparently, it's a fairly common problem.

"In the last six months we have had nine phone calls relating to dead horses. All total, we have had 20 calls involving dead animals," said Turner.

In most cases, the problem can be fixed simply by contacting the animal owner. However, because of the health risks associated with this issue the state does offer some regulation.

"If all else fails, you can always call the Livestock and Poultry Commission and they will send an investigator out. The Health Department is another avenue by which you can get someone to come out," said Turner.

As for the horse in the Barnett's backyard, it is expected to be buried sometime on Thursday.

If you have a large animal like a horse die on your land it is recommended you bury it at least 100 yards away from a water source. If you live in a secluded area burning the carcass is also considered a suitable way to dispose of remains.