Arrest Made in Bourbon County Animal Cruelty Case

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Alyssa Evans

Xavier McGrapth, who is the operator of McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whispering Creek Thoroughbreds, was arrested Tuesday by the Bourbon County Sheriff's office, it was announced Wednesday.

The sheriff's office released a brief statement Wednesday, which read “On the afternoon of April 13, 2021, Xavier McGrapth who is a suspect in an active investigation involving Equine in Bourbon County came into the Bourbon Sheriff's Office for an interview. Upon conclusion of the interview McGrapth was arrested on an active warrant that was tied to the same case. The Bourbon County Sheriff's Office and the Bourbon County Attorney's Office are working closely together to bring this case to a close. At this time, all horses involved have been removed from the Farm and have been relocated to facilities to best suit the care they need.”

Earlier, McGrapth was charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty in the second degree. It appeared that he had been starving some of the horses under his care, and that at least two of them died.

“I'm relieved in that we've made some progress with Xavier turning himself in,” said Amanda Scarsella, who had sent six horses to McGrapth. “With the news that he has formally been charged and taken into custody, I'm hopeful we can move forward and see some justice served. This is only the beginning. What needs to happen is we all need to use this as a teaching point and as a learning point to change laws. We don't want to see this happen again.”

Five of the horses she had with McGrapth have returned to Scarsella's upstate New York farm. She fears that a sixth horse, a broodmare named Fresh Face (Uncle Mo), may be one of the two dead horses, neither of which have been identified.

“This has been bittersweet,” she said. “We are so glad that they are alive and are home, but it's been pretty gutting to see them this way. My colts are sleeping a monstrous amount of time because they are just so wreak and so tired.”

McGrapth had been advertising his services on Facebook under the names of McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whisper Creek Thoroughbreds. He posted that he was available to break and train young horses and board broodmares. McGrapth had the horses on a section of a farm he leased from longtime Central Kentucky horsemen Steve Johnson. Johnson has said that he did not know that McGrapth was mistreating any of his horses.

The case came to the attention of the Bourbon County Sheriff's office when Alyssa Evans, a client of McGrapth's, came to the farm to check on one of her horses. While there, she saw two dead horses laying in a paddock and alerted the sheriff's office. The sheriff's office began its investigation shortly after receiving Evans' call and first inspected the farm on March 19. The sheriff's office then called on a local veterinarian, Dr. Zach Logan, who inspected 23 horses and reported that 11 were malnourished or severely malnourished and that two others were dead.

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