Extortion charged in taking of horses

Extortion charged in taking of horses

WIMER — A long-time Jackson County Animal Control officer was arrested Thursday on extortion charges after allegedly using his position to con a Wimer man out of two horses and a fence, police said.

In April, Andy Ray Lane, 53, responded to an "anonymous" report of abuse of two horses at a residence just outside Wimer.

The horses appeared to be well-fed and watered, but were in enclosures deemed too small by Lane.

During numerous visits to the property over the next few weeks, Lane advised the resident, who was not named by Jackson County sheriff's officials, and warned the man he could face stiff fines if the situation was not corrected.

The resident reportedly tried to rectifly the situation, but could not do enough to satisfy Lane's demands.

Eventually, the owner of the horses sought to sell the animals, but was not able to do so.

Lane then returned to the house with a trailer to take the horses. He told the resident he needed to take some fence panels from the property to help corral the animals.

Lane told the resient he had found the horses a safe home where they would be cared for. The fence panels were never returned to the owners.

"Animal Control officials do not take livestock from owners," Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan said. "They deal mostly with dog and rabie issues."

The sheriff's office alleges Lane used his position to force the owner to give him the horses and the valuable fencing.

Sheriff's officials later recovered the horses, who were being taken care off in a responsible manner, Fagan said.

Lane is charged with two counts of theft by extortion, two counts of coercion and one count of first-degree official misconduct.

He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $34,000 bail.

If any Jackson County residents think they might have been taken advantage of by Lane in a similar manner, they are asked to call the agencie's tip line at 774-8333.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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