BEATRICE – It appears a campaign to oust a Gage County official from office has come up short.

Thursday was the deadline for a petition campaign to turn in signatures in an attempt to recall Gage County Attorney Roger Harris.   The petition effort was filed by Kerri Jones, alleging failure of the Republican County attorney to investigate neglect of 37 horses and the deaths of 17 of the animals. It also cited failure to address what the petitioner felt were crimes committed by a local veterinarian who had the animals in her care.

Gage County Clerk Dawn Hill estimates less than 1,500 petition signatures seeking the recall were turned in at the deadline.   Hill said 2,273 valid signatures are required to force a recall election of the county attorney.  The clerk’s office will go through the process of reviewing signatures to determine how many were valid.  There are 15 business days by state law, to complete verification.

The case dates back to last summer when Gage County officials seized several malnourished horses from two veterinary clinics in Pickrell and Beatrice.   Gage County used public funds to help care for the seized animals at a rural Crete rescue operation….and private donations aided in that effort.  

Harris said multiple veterinary experts indicated equine parvovirus could have caused the symptoms in the horses, making a criminal conviction difficult to pursue.

Ultimately, the remaining horses, brought back to good health….were auctioned off….the veterinarian was previously cited for several counts of animal neglect, and later barred from having horses in her possession in Gage County, in a district court approved settlement of the case.