McGrapth Sentenced To House Arrest In Animal Cruelty Case - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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McGrapth Sentenced To House Arrest In Animal Cruelty Case

Amanda Scarsella said McGrapth starved five horses she boarded with him; a sixth is still unaccounted for

Xavier McGrapth, 25, of Versailles, Ky., has been sentenced to 25 days' home incarceration in an animal cruelty case that left two dozen horses in various stages of neglect and two dead. On June 22, Bourbon County District Judge Mary Jane Phelps handed down the sentence in the case, which included 13 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

McGrapth, who had offered boarding and breaking services to predominantly out-of-state clients, has also been ordered to pay owners of the neglected horses $8,651.91 starting in August with payments of $500 per month. He is also prohibited from owning or working with horses for two years.

McGrapth advertised his services on Facebook under business names McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whispering Creek Thoroughbreds, offering breaking and training for young horses and broodmare board.

Phelps credited McGrapth for entering his guilty plea to the charges, saying it was unusual for a defendant to “claim responsibility and give wide discretion to the court to decide their sentence,” according to a report from The Blood-Horse.

But prosecutors pointed out that in fact, McGrapth hasn't always been forthcoming about the issues with the horses in his care. The neglected and dead horses were discovered only after one of McGrapth's clients made a visit to the facility he leased on Brentsville Road. When clients began peppering him with questions about the situation, prosecutors said McGrapth didn't resurface for 25 days.

Read our original reporting on the case here.

Had Phelps chosen to hand McGrapth the maximum sentence for the charges, which are Class A misdemeanors under Kentucky law, he could have gone to jail for one year.

In a pre-sentencing document, McGrapth's attorney attributed the horses' neglect, in part, to McGrapth's inexperience.

“Mr. McGrapth has had a few different jobs working with horses in the past; none of those positions dealt with him learning how to properly run a business, much less dealing with clients when they fail to make timely payments directly related to the care of their horses,” read the report, which stated his June 2020 foundation of Whispering Creek was his first time owning an equine business. “This should lead a potential client to question, should they begin a business relationship with someone so new to the equine industry?”

The document blames McGrapth's clients for falling behind in payments, which led him to be late in paying the rent on the facility, which he leased from horseman Steven Johnson. When McGrapth's bills continued to go unpaid, McGrapth said Johnson told him he couldn't come back on the property. McGrapth's attorney said McGrapth “naively believed that the horses were being adequately taken care of” in his absence.

McGrapth's attorneys and Judge Phelps agreed that McGrapth would be unable to pay any restitution if he were sent to jail, and for that reason a short period of home confinement and continued employment was most beneficial to his former clients.

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