Officer in horse probe placed on paid leave
Haines Borough police chief Gary Lowe this week placed officer Cassandra McEwen on paid, administrative leave, beginning March 10. McEwen is the subject of an Alaska State Troopers investigation into care of three horses she owned.
Lowe said he expected McEwen’s leave would be at least for two weeks.
State trooper Josh Bentz said he had resumed an investigation into the matter this week, following approval by higher-ups at the Department of Public Safety.
Stable owner Bob Henderson came under fire this week for not intervening sooner in the animals’ care.
In an interview for last week’s Chilkat Valley News story, Henderson said he fed the animals several times late last year with hay he got from McEwen. In January, before he called in Haines Animal Rescue Kennel, he secured hay and straw. The information wasn’t included in the March 8 CVN story.
Henderson said McEwen didn’t come to town on the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and by November and December wasn’t bringing horses water twice a day.
“In January, we had a clear, cold weekend. I knew it was going down to zero. (McEwen) didn’t come in on weekends and I couldn’t sleep for worrying about the horses,” Henderson said.
“I knew they were losing weight and in poor shape and listless. I thought maybe (McEwen) had gone to Canada to get hay. On Monday morning, (McEwen) came in with tail ends of old hay, not enough to get through much longer and on Tuesday, she didn’t come in. I had to do something,” he said.
Henderson said he then ordered 10 bales of hay from a local store and borrowed two bales of hay from another horse owner. He also fed the horses straw he bought. Although straw lacks nutritional value, it can keep a horse warm by keeping its stomach active, Henderson said.
Then, he said, he called Haines Animal Rescue Kennel. HARK cared for the horses until Feb. 8 and Henderson paid for feed after that. Henderson said McEwen told him she’d pay for feeding them only from Feb. 23 through March 6.
Henderson said he’d likely have to go to small claims court to recoup about $1,000 for his care of the animals between Feb. 8 and Feb. 23.
McEwen has not returned messages left for her.