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Rio Verde woman believes neighbors purposely planted toxic oleanders near horses

Posted at 5:09 AM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 08:45:04-04

In the far north Valley, near Rio Verde, there's a backyard battle with horses on one side and poisonous plants on the other. 

Tami Blakely lives on a piece of property with a half-dozen horses. She believes her neighbors would rather not have the small herd living nearby. 

"I don't have a problem with the fact they don't enjoy my lifestyle," said Blakely. 

Tami said after nearly a year of bickering with her two neighbors, they planted poisonous oleanders along the fence line. She thinks they did this on purpose. 

"I told them that they are planting oleanders next to the horses, where they will be, and they are highly poisonous, toxic. And they told me they know, they realize that, that is why they are doing it," said Blakely. 

We knocked on the door of both neighbors. One didn't answer but a man at the other home spoke to us briefly. 

"I got no comment, so I'd ask you to please leave," said the neighbor, who also denied planting the oleander to poison the horses. "Never made that statement." 

Either way, Valley veterinarian Shery Babyak told ABC15 she has seen oleander plants weaponized against animals before. 

"Horses are browsers so they nibble on things. And oleander leaves don't taste very good but that doesn't stop them if they're hungry and it only takes a few leaves to kill a horse," said Babyak. 

Bottom line, however, is that there is no law against the pernicious plant, so Blakely said she isn't sure how she'll close out the oleander ordeal.