A former Greene County State’s Attorney has been charged in Circuit Court for animal cruelty. The Greene Prairie Press reports that 61 year old Kenneth Hobson has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty and two counts of neglect of owner’s duties after two horses were found in deplorable condition on a farm in rural Greene County.
The abuse charges allege that Hobson, between June 18 and September 17 refused to feed and provide adequate veterinary care to a Palomino colt and 15 year old bay gelding who both had open wounds that went untreated. One of the wounds reportedly had maggots growing in the wounds.
The neglectful duties charges allege Hobson failed to provide adequate food and water to a 25-year old paint mare and 10 year old buckskin mare. All the horses, along with 20 dogs, were found on the property, according to the Greene Prairie Press report. The horses were found to be extremely malnourished. Hobson allegedly would not willingly give up the horses and a summons had to be issued to local authorities.
The four horses were found near death on September 18th by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputies and transported to Randy’s Rescue Ranch in O’Fallon, Illinois where they are currently recovering. Hobson had been under investigation for most of the year by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, according to a report given by Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen, and had made a visit to Hobson’s farm earlier in the spring.
McMillen’s criminal investigation into the alleged abuse was turned over to the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office by current Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe because of Hobson’s prior service in that capacity from 1992-1996. Another former Greene County States Attorney, Matthew Goetten, was assigned to the case as a Special Prosecutor who filed charges on October 23rd. Hobson’s first court appearance on the charges will be on November 4th.
The Failure of Ownership is a Class B Misdemeanor that can carry 6 months in county jail, probation, or conditional discharge up to 2 years and a fine of $1500. If convicted of the cruel treatment charges is a Class A misdemeanor, the charges can carry up to 1 year in jail, probation or conditional discharge up to 2 years, and a $2500 fine. Repeat offense of these charges make them felonies.