Neighbor Suspects Animal Abuse in Fayette County, Calls Sheriff

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(Fayette County, TN) A ball hanging from a horse's belly isn't a typical sight, so it caught Ricky Dyer's eye as he was driving by a farm on Orr Road, prompting him to call the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

"I saw a horse that appeared to have a kettle ball hanging from its body, tied to it on a piece of twine that appeared to be cutting into him, " Dyer said.

He also saw a dog basically hanging after wrapping itself around a tree.

When Dyer came to show WREG cameras what he saw, the dog was free, and the man who cares for the horses was there.

He says the horse with the ball was dropped off at the property a week-and-a-half ago, and was kicking the other horses, so he tied the ball on it to keep it from doing that. The chain was meant to stop it from chasing the other horses.

Horse experts we spoke with say neither of these practices are common or safe for the horse. They say the chain could easily break the horse's leg.

The man says if this property did not exist, then these horses, barn cats and dogs would just be left to die.

Dyer said, "The issue I have, that originally pulled me over was the dog. We probably do not see eye-to-eye on that."

Dyer says he is asking friends and family to consider taking the dog to a better home.

Fayette County Sheriff's say most of the animals on the land came from even worse situations and that they are being rehabilitated, but they will follow up with the concerned call.


    • Rachael

      I didn’t realize it was Jim Light. I already have a horse he has abused and do not want another. Cannot afford the heart ache and trainers fees to try and undo what he does.

  • Rob Erickson

    I don’t know about the dog, but the ball around the horse appears to be a “Jolly-Ball” which is a plastic horse/dog toy that weighs next to nothing. I have known the man in the video for many years and know him to be a savior to animals in bad situations, not a perpetrator of animal cruelty. Often times stories make it to the news without all of the facts. I would urge you to give this man the benefit of the doubt until all the information comes to light.

  • Logan

    So is the twine attached to the ball actual going through the horses skin or is it tied to his leg? Either way it is wrong.

  • Sarah

    I’ve known the man in the video for a very very long time. I can assure you that he is not abusing these animals. He feeds and checks on them on a regular basis. And the dog is not always tied to the tree. The ball is also keeping the horse from injuring other horses. Not harming it. No “animal cruelty” here.

  • Judy bsndy

    Don’t know the man but making a judgment call if all his other Animals are cared for good then he must have a problem with just this horse and dog. I would suggest finding a new home for those two animals then keep a close watch on the others. If I had a big enough place I would love to have both dog and horse because with proper training they can become best friends. I have a small dog who loves to ride mi mini horses…

  • gypsy lee

    Instead of complaining about your neighbor, why not offer to help with
    the animals.I am sure he would appreciate the offer,maybe donate some
    hay and oats. I think you will find this will make you feel a lot better about
    yourself and help a neighbor. GOD BLESS

  • ernie kelly

    This man actually takes in abandoned, neglected, sometimes abused horses that others have had to surrender because of various unfortunate circumstances in the owner(s)’ lives. He rehabilitates the horses, finds new homes for them (for free or small fees) and should be applauded for his rescue of animals which would otherwise possibly starve to death or be taken to be euthanized. He needs help and encouragement to continue this loving and selfless endeavor instead of harassment from those who could actually be as humane as he is and contribute to the care and feeding of these unfortunate horses which have been given one last chance at life.

  • Jennifer Jones

    This man has rehabilitated so many horses; horses that people have dumped off at his pasture.

    This man has rehabilitated so many skinny horses that other people have neglected almost to the point of death, malnurished to say the least.

    He has trained horses that no one could touch, that someone else ignorantly had ‘taught’ the horse bad manners, disrespect due to not knowing how to prevent bad behavior from escalating. Over and over people bring their unruly horses to him at last resort and beg him to help them. Most people don’t realize they are ‘teaching’ their horse bad behavior. Have you ever seen the episodes of “the Dog Whisperer”? – he trains people and rehabs dogs, Jim Light does the same for horses.

    I have seen him turn around horses that were disrespectful enough to kill a person – he has turned them into horses that can once again be ridden. Not many people around here know how to do that.

    I have seen him fatten up terribly neglected horses that people have given to him when they have given up on being able to keep the horse. I have never seen him abuse a horse. He does what a horse needs to become a better horse.

    His barn isn’t fancy like the barns down the street, so they pick on him constantly. The “kettle ball tied around his belly” was a bouncy horse toy and the hay twine could not possibly be digging into the skin because the ball is so light. That guy was exaggerating to get on TV.

    I am glad you showed the fat horses he has that were standing around eating the bale of hay. Those were once severely neglected horses — horses without papers, horses the ‘people down the street’ would not care to take in. He takes in the “pet quality’ horses that no one else wants.

    Will you show his version better next time, how the people with fancy barns down on Orr Road pester him mercilessly yet they would never bother with these “pet quality” horses that are dumped off to him out of desperation…

    He deserves a positive story. He rehabs so many horses at his own expense and yet he is ridiculed by these rich people who detest driving down the road looking at his old barn with neglected horses that someone else neglected…

    He is doing a service for a category of horses that no one else wants. I think that deserves a positive story.


  • Caleb manning

    I’ve known mr light for quite some time. I’ve worked in that very pasture with many horses. Mr light is the far from an “animal abuser”. He goes above and beyond to care for the animals that he takes in. By no means is he an animal shelter or refuge. He’s a great guy with a vast knowledge of horses and how to care for them. Granted it is not the best of conditions compared to some of the higher end stables. ( but I don’t see to many high end stables taking in horses in need of a home either) people often abuse the fact that he will take any animal in and try to give it a good home. But I speak for many people when I say he is not an abuser. He is an old fashioned cowboy. Maybe if some of you people would spend a little more understanding the situation instead of making un-educated remarks towards him. Then maybe WREG could spend there time directing there stories towards more important matters.

    These horses and dogs and cats, all get fed on a regular basis and have a pure water source at any given time.

  • Cheryl becker

    Oh I know about Mr light. He had a blind starving pony that froze to death a few years back. Another horse that had been down for days. A caring group of people offered to help the horse. In the end these helpers had to buy the horse, then have hin euthanized. He was going to shoot it. Another lady bought a horse from him not knowing anything about horses. She took her horse home. And after a gigantic vet bill he was fine. None of these horses have the regular Coggins, dental care or hoof care they need. I do know all this as fact because I helped with the rescue. Saw the dead pony after a freeze. And alerted the lady who bought the pony to get it out of there. Also a sheriff deputy I know has called animal control on this guy many time. Also the depth of ag has been called. I just don’t know why something hasn’t been done. It’s dreadful.

  • Cheryl becker

    Ma Smith. Stay on this guy read Mt post. Call me he’s horruble. I’ll intervuew. I drove past his pasture 2x a day for 12 years. 901 846 8144 cheryl becker

  • R. Hannah

    Notice how the news story only names Ricky Dyer and not the man being accused for the abuse in the news story? That’s because to do so is defamation. The accused man has not had charges placed against him and he’s not a public figure; therefore, for WREG or any other persons to print his name in such a manner leaves those individuals open for a lawsuit. I hope he sues the pants off the people who have brought his name into this. I certainly hope WREG officials remove all these posts in realization that they’re responsible, by making it possible, for the infringement upon a person’s right to privacy.

    I’ve known the accused man personally for many years. He’s a wonderful, kind and caring person with a vast knowledge of horses. He takes in animals that no one else wants, rehabilitates them and places the horses in good homes. Shame on WREG and shame on all the people that name the accused.

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