Polk County, Florida – Authorities seized 28 miniature horses and 2 full-sized horses that were severely neglected. Dr. Gail Anne Nichols (DVM), 66, and her husband Paul Craig Smith, 74, were both arrested and charged with multiple animal cruelty charges.
The Sheriff Department released the following details about the horses.
“A search of the front pasture revealed 18 miniature horses were confined to a dirt pasture, with access to hay. 2 full sized horses were housed in a side (North West) dirt pasture with no access to grass or hay. 10 additional miniature horses were found in a back dirt pasture with no hay or grass. All had access to water. Three of the horses were found to have hooves that were severely overgrown to the point they were spiraled upwards causing the horses lameness. One of the three horses had one overgrown hoof facing backward and one overgrown hoof facing forward. Another was found to be only able to amble on three legs after suffering an untreated injury. The remaining horse appeared emaciated, malnourished and in poor health.”
The fact that a licensed, practicing veterinarian caused such harm to her animals is bewildering to the sheriff. “The fact that a practicing, licensed veterinarian caused so much suffering to her own animals is extremely concerning. We hope from this point forward she is not allowed to own, or treat, any more animals,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.
The suspects have petitioned the court to retain ownership of their animals. They are both charged with three counts felony animal cruelty, one count misdemeanor animal cruelty, and five counts confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or shelter. The animals are being housed at Animal Control pending the outcome of the court case.Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773
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