Former South Carolina GOP candidate nabbed for horse stealing claims it was a 'rescue operation'
Curtis Bostic (Screengrab)

A former South Carolina Republican congressional candidate was arrested last week on felony charges of unlawful theft of lifestock, though he contends it was part of a horse-rescue operation, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

Curtis Bostic and another local man were picked dup by authorities on Dec. 18 and taken to Three Forks Regional Jail. Boston told Live5 News he believed the charges would be “short-lived.”

"The only thing I can tell you, because it's outstanding, it was part of a horse rescue operation.” Boston said. And I think it's going to be short-lived and that's all I can tell you.”

"I was completely within my rights," he added.

As the Post and Courier notes, it’s common practice in Kentucky for horse owners to let their livestock roam free in search of grassy areas typically planted by coal miners to reclaim flattened land.

Ginny Grulke, executive director of the advocacy group Appalachian Horse Center, told the Post and Courier when the recession hit in 2008, some owners abandoned their animals. Occasionally, outsiders would round up horses to “make some quick money,” Grulke said, and less often, outsiders would attempt to find homes for the horses through a process that involved contacting local authorities and giving owners 15 days to claim their livestock.

"Some people can get caught up in giving an abandoned horse a new home that they don’t take the steps, Grulke told the Post and Courier. "If you don’t do that, you’re officially stealing a horse.”

Bostic served as interim and vice-charmain on the Charleston County Council from 2001-2009. In 2013, he launched an unsuccessful bid to Congress in the South Carolina’s first congressional district. His court date is set for Jan. 23, 2017.