Authorities Investigate Possible Animal Abuse

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Five puppies are recovering from malnutrition and a bad case of tick in Haywood County. Residents in the area tipped off officials after spotting five adult dogs who appeared starved. 

“The situation the dogs were living in were unbelievable,” said Haywood County Animal Shelter Employee Amber Hendrix. 

Haywood County officials recovered the pups from a local business and home. Officials charged the owner of Davis Auto Salvage, Joe Alvis Davis with animal cruelty, last week.

“I lifted up his ears, and it was all ticks. Ticks covered this side. Ticks covered that side. They were inside their ear canals. It’s horrible,” said Hendrix.

Officials called the condition heart breaking. The rib cages of the adult dogs rescued showed through the dark fur of five adult Labradors.

“There’s no way to help them. They were very sick, undernourished, had heart worms, very skin and bones, and those animals because of their condition, they had to be euthanized,” said Hendrix.

While the adult dogs did not survive, the five puppies discovered at the salvage yard did. And officials say they are getting better each day.

Hendrix said, “To see they’ve come so far as they have the few weeks is really really awesome.”

Now officials are doing everything in their power to make sure the five puppies are placed in a loving home.

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15 neglected horses found near Reedley

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Investigators who went to a Reedley-area farm to find out why horses were being attacked by dogs discovered 15 neglected and malnourished horses, officials said.

The Central California Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office have not made an arrest in the case.

The owner of the farm near Alta Avenue and Highway 180 signed the horses over to SPCA and Silverwings Horse Rescue, north of Sanger. Seven of the horses went to Silverwings and six others were taken to the SPCA complex in Fresno.

Two horses were euthanized at the scene, SPCA spokeswoman Beth Caffrey said.

It’s the latest in a string of cases where horses have been malnourished and neglected by their owners since last year.

 Many of the horses from the latest case were underweight by 250 to 400 pounds, she said.

An average adult horse weighs about 950 to 1,100 pounds.

“Their feet were horrid and they all need dental checks,” Caffrey said.

The woman who owned the horses remains under investigation, Caffrey said. Dogs that were attacking the horses were owned by her, too, she said.

“We are looking into why she couldn’t care for them and as of right now I know of no reason why she couldn’t,” Caffrey said.

The SPCA has 44 horses at its southwest Fresno complex and Silverwings has 42 horses.

Both organizations are seeking donations of feed, hay or services including dental and hoof work.

“Four or five were like skeletons with skin,” said Gina Caglia, president of Silverwings.

Only two of the horses seemed to be in decent physical shape, she said.

Many of the 42 horses at Caglia’s rescue are available for adoption.

Caffrey said 33 of 44 horses at the SPCA are eligible for adoption.

The SPCA needs more individual horse stalls, senior feed, grass hay and alfalfa hay, she said.


Man charged with animal cruelty after horse put down, mules seized

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FARMINGTON — A case of horse abuse at a local boarding stable resulted in an extremely malnourished horse being put down and two mules getting rescued.

What makes the event even more tragic is that it was preventable.

“This absolutely did not have to happen,” said Debbie Coburn of Four Corners Equine Rescue, who took the mules. “There is help out there and people should take advantage of it, for god sake.”

Owners of the animals at the boarding stable were responsible for feeding, and the three starved animals lived nearby six other horses that were well fed. All three animals were owned by the same individual and according to Livestock Board employee Johnny Mares, the owner was unable to pay for food.

“He was cited for cruelty to animals,” Mares said. “He’ll being going to court next month.”

Loyal Stubblefield was charged and pleaded not guilty.

The facility owner, meanwhile, “said that she knew about it but that she was old and couldn’t get down there,” Coburn said. “But really all she had to do was pick up the phone.”

The horse was so far gone it couldn’t be saved.

“It was down and unable to rise,” said Animal Haven’s Dr. Joe Quintana, who treated the mules. “It had no reserve at all. At that point they are eating themselves up and just because you pick them up and feed them doesn’t mean they have the ability to absorb the food. It’s heart-breaking to see something like that occur.”

The two mules were more than 100 pounds underweight.

“They were pretty significantly underfed,” Quintana said. “Mules have a low metabolic weight and are pretty easy keepers. They can almost survive on weeds and low quality feed. For a mule to get skinny means they weren’t getting the groceries.”

Coburn estimates the animals weren’t properly fed for more than three months.

“I don’t know how you walk past that everyday,” Coburn said. “It took a long time for that horse to get this way.”

The two mules, Jenni and Brown Sugar, should be ready for adoption in the next couple months.

According to Coburn, people have a variety of choices for reaching out for help.

“You can call the livestock board, or a vet,” Coburn said. “APNM (Animal Protection of New Mexico) has an emergency hay fund. And people can always call me and if I don’t have an answer I will keep going until I find one.”

Coburn’s number at Four Corners Equine Rescue is 505-334-7220. The Livestock Board’s number is 505-841-6161 and the Emergency Assistance Feed program can be reached online at or by calling 505-265-2322.

To report animal abuse people should call 877-548-6263, a tip line for abused animals.

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Sprakers man charged with felony animal cruelty – Video

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New York State Troopers have arrested a Sprakers man for animal cruelty and failure to provide adequate food and water to more than a dozen horses on his farm.

The sick animals were seized last month after an investigation determined it wasn’t safe for the horses to remain on the property.

Right now 51-year-old Carl Vitale is now behind bars at the Montgomery County Jail.

During an off camera interview on the front steps of his farm on March 22nd, Vitale told FOX23 News he loved his horses, and did not believe he mistreated them.

But on Monday, the Sprakers man was charged with two felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, and15 counts of failure to provide adequate sustenance.

That’s one count for each horse.

The sick animals are being cared for at the Easy Street Horse Rescue Farm in Amsterdam, but sadly, not all of the horses could be saved.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Nina Bellinger founded Easy Street.

Bellinger says she vowed to seek justice for the horses the night two had to be put to sleep.

“The night we had to put down the two horses, I promised them both that we would get him for this. That was a really tough night, and I really broke down and cried a lot,” she said.

The passionate animal lover is talking about 51-year-old Vitale.

After seeing the poor condition of the 15 horses she helped save from Vitale’s Sprakers farm, she vowed to seek justice for the malnourished, dehydrated, worm infested animals.

Bellinger says she was happy to hear about the arrest.

“He was arrested on 2 felonies, on aggravated animal cruelty, and arrested for the deaths of the two horses that were put down. And then he was charged with 15 misdemeanors, one for each horse, and four penalties. And those penalties were for the horse carcasses that were not properly covered that they found on his farm,” she said.

Bellinger estimates the number of animals that may have died due to neglect on Vitale’s farm.

Counting on her fingers the Easy Street Rescue Founder said, “Well we know (there were) four carcasses, 2 were put down, that’s six, but probably more. I would definitely say more, because we found the skull of a foal that was in his garbage. So there were probably a lot more that passed on, probably due to neglect.”

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FLAT ROCK: Rockwood man arraigned on animal cruelty charge

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WOODHAVEN — A 44-year-old Rockwood man was arraigned today in 33rd District Court on an abandonment/animal cruelty charge, a two-year felony.

Lester Anthony France was arrested Wednesday by Flat Rock police. He appeared before Judge Michael McNally today.

Bond was set at $100,000/10 percent, which was not paid.

A preliminary examination of the evidence him against is set for April 24.

 France is considered a habitual offender, which means if he is convicted of the charge an additional year and a half could be added to his sentence.

France has a prior conviction related to dog fighting in October 1993.

Police went to the 28000 block of Cahill Road last Sunday after receiving a complaint of animal abuse.

According to police, four of the dogs were dead in an outside kennel.

They appeared to be malnourished, police said.

According to a police report, it did not appear that anyone had tended to the dogs for quite some time.

Two other American bulldogs were found and appeared to be malnourished as well.

Both were taken to Affiliated Veterinary Emergency Service in Allen Park.

Police said one of the bulldogs was so severely malnourished he had to be euthanized.

The other bulldog was treated and released to the Flat Rock Animal Shelter.

He is eating well and gaining weight, according to police.

See and future editions of The News-Herald Newspapers for more on this story.

Animal cruelty charges brought

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A Vallecito couple faces animal cruelty charges after 15 malnourished horses were seized from their horse rescue ranch in February.

Paul and Kimberly Paulden, of the 4500 block of Red Hill Road, were booked March 29 on felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Calaveras County Superior Court officials said the Pauldens’ court date has not yet been entered into the computer system.

Sgt. Laurie Murray, director of Animal Services, said that in addition to the 15 ill horses, she found the remains of two dead horses on the ranch.

A colt seized from the Pauldens in February is being nursed back to health at ReHorse Rescue in Jamestown.

“I couldn’t state as to why those horses died other than what the suspect told me happened,” Murray said. “They’d been dead for a little while.”

Murray said the horses that survived were underweight, and were treated for lice, rain rot and worms.

Initially, three horses were sent to Angels Camp Veterinary Hospital, while seven others were taken to a private Angels Camp ranch or to ReHorse Rescue in Jamestown.

Raquelle Van Vleck, director of ReHorse Rescue, said all the horses in her care are doing much better.

“They are all picking up weight. We’ve de-wormed everybody,” Van Vleck said. “We’ve been treating the mare that was in the worst shape for rain rot (a condition that causes the horse’s fur to slough off). She lost quite a bit of her coat.”

The Pauldens have maintained their innocence, and say that the horses were malnourished when they received them. Christina Martinez, a personal friend of the Pauldens, defended the couple in a letter, stating the Pauldens took in horses no one else wanted.

“It’s not easy taking in animals that have had years of neglect and abuse,” Martinez wrote. “The Pauldens love animals and would not intentionally harm any one of them.”

If convicted, the Pauldens could face a maximum of three years in prison; however, Murray said a prison sentence is unlikely.

The February incident was not the first time Animal Services was called to the Pauldens’ ranch. Last September, a person complained about the condition of 20 horses, and Murray said the Pauldens voluntarily surrendered 10 horses to Horse Plus Human Society, a rescue group in Oroville.

Margo Anthony, a Murphys resident who reported the horses’ condition in February, said Horse Plus was shocked at how emaciated the horses were last fall.

“Sadly, two of the horses died shortly after arriving at the veterinarian from starvation and dehydration,” Anthony wrote.

Murray said the Pauldens cooperated with Animal Services last September; improving the conditions and care of the remaining horses. However, Murray said Animal Services received a call in February stating that herd numbers increased, prompting a second investigation.

“We hadn’t been there for a month and a half to two months when we got a phone call reporting abuse,” Murray said. “We checked it out, found that was the case and did what we had to do.”

Horse investigation leads to animal cruelty charges against 2 people in Albemarle County

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Two people in Albemarle County face charges following the recent seizure of malnourished horses.

Albemarle County Police Sgt. Darrell Byers tells the Daily Progress ( ) that 42-year-old Samantha Lynn Parker and 50-year-old Aubrey Luther Lamb are each charged with one cruelty to animals count. They were arrested Friday.

Albemarle County Police Sgt. Darrell Byers tells the Daily Progress that 42-year-old Samantha Lynn Parker and 50-year-old Aubrey Luther Lamb are each charged with one cruelty to animals count.

Byers says authorities found several horses in poor health and four dead horses during an investigation in the 5700 block of Jefferson Mill Road.

Authorities seized the malnourished horses in February and gave them to a local equine rescue group.


Information from: The Daily Progress

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