Local Couple Sentenced in Animal Abuse Case Involving 41 Horses

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

[UPDATE] Thomas County, Georgia -- December 1, 2011 - Noon -

The couple accused of animal abuse back in early November has been sentenced. 41 horses were removed from Cecil and Kathleen Walker's home in Thomas County early last month. A veterinarian said some of the horses were severely malnourished. As of Monday, Cecil was charged with one count of animal cruelty. The couple was sentenced to eight months probation and must pay a $125 fine. They also forfeit the right to the 41 horses. The horses will be available for adoption and anyone interested can contact the Dancing Cloud Horse Rescue.


[UPDATE] Thomas County, Georgia -- November 5, 2011 5:45 PM

It's been four days since the horses were brought to the rescue center and while those close to the case say the horses are showing signs of improvement, they stress they still have a long road to recovery."

According to Dr. Mary Rogers, the forty hoses that were seized from Cecil and Kathleen Walker for abuse and neglect, are severely malnourished. Rogers says, "well, obviously they're very thin. They range in body condition, on a scale of one to nine, from a one point five to about a four. "

Another problem the horses are battling is rain rot which is brought on by a lack of grooming and overexposure to the elements. Rogers expects many of them will lose their coats.

Another major concern is parasite infection.

Roger says, "they have such heavy loads of parasites that they were actually expelling adult worms from, from their feces. And they have to be pretty heavily parasitized to do that."

Officials close to the case say they are seeing increased rates of neglected animals due to the struggling economy and say people should know they can voluntarily surrender their animals if they can no longer care for them.

Rescuer, Anita Meisen says "Contact the vet or contact us, and we will try to help them as best we can. Sometimes we can take the animal. Don't wait until they get in this condition."

The doctor says she expects a full recovery to happen within two to four months.
Thomas County, Georgia - November 3, 2011 6:00PM

Forty emaciated horses have been seized in the tiny town of Ochlocknee, Georgia.

Thomas County Sheriff's deputies are investigating and say the owners could be charged with animal cruelty.

Calls rang into the sheriff's office back in early October about the conditions of the horses and on Tuesday, November 1st, deputies executed a warrant at a home on Incognito Lane and seized all of them.

Investigators brought the horses to a nearby rescue center. Deputies say the horses belonged to Cecil and Kathleen Walker.

"You can see his backbone. He's covered in rain rot. His ribs are showing. His hips are showing and his backbone here is showing," says Dancing Horse Rescue President Anita Meisen.

Meisen believes many of the female horses may be pregnant. One has difficulty walking due to a broken leg.

She says the rescue center has saved many animals before, but never has she rescued this many in such bad condition.

The Rescue Farm is asking for donations and staff there tell us none of the horses will go up for adoption any time soon. Here's how you can adopt once they do:

Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 6
Ochlocknee, GA 31773

Georgia Equine Rescue League

Donations are said to cover veterinarian costs.
Thomas County, Georgia - November 3, 2011 - Noon -

The Thomas County Sheriff's Office recovered 40 horses on November 1st in an animal abuse investigation. Now those horses are at a rescue center.

Horses were taken to Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue. Some of the ribs are sticking out of the horses' sides and hipbones protrude from their bodies. Rescuers tell Eyewitness News that many of the female horses may be pregnant.

At this time, investigators say the suspects may face 40 charges of animal cruelty. The investigation is on-going.

Stay with WCTV for updates.

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  • by Marlene Location: Louisiana on Dec 10, 2011 at 07:53 AM
    that is not a sentence !! That is a slap on the hand!!If you cannot afford to feed your animals give them away.I would bet someone would have taken them.they are sick dumb people! I hope they starve!
  • by Cows Rule Location: Lovett, Florida on Dec 5, 2011 at 07:46 AM
    $125 fine??? Are you kidding me?? They should have at least been given 1000 hours of community service and made to serve it brushing and feeding those animals. I understand they don't have much money but what about good old elbow grease?? Nothing like hard work to make amends for the wrong you have done like this one.
  • by A on Dec 5, 2011 at 05:52 AM
    this is in response to Tea Party Conserviative and Ron Paul Fan...First let me say that I am for property rights and less government intrusion but in this case these people were WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! as a horse owner I know the expense of keeping 3 horses and unless someone had a large amount of money I can't understand why they would even consider owning this many horses! I say Bravo to the authorities and people that helped the horses and to the judge and court system that gave them a slap on the hand SHAME ON YOU!!
  • by Kc Location: Thomasville on Dec 2, 2011 at 08:58 PM
    I am glad the horses are getting what they need now I think both of them should have got jail time Kathleen most of all being she said she knows how to take care of the horses and pony s if I ever get back on my feet I would love to help thank you all that are helping
  • by Tea Party Conservative on Dec 1, 2011 at 04:34 PM
    More liberal Democrat tree-huggers and animal lover freaks going to extremes in putting animals 1st, over private land owners. Private property rights are at risk with a socialist as president. People should do whatever they want on their own land.
    • reply
      by Ron Paul Fan on Dec 2, 2011 at 03:57 AM in reply to Tea Party Conservative
    • reply
      by Tville mom on Dec 2, 2011 at 06:09 AM in reply to Tea Party Conservative
      If the gov't or local authority didn't step in on private property then all abuse cases would go on without punishment. This includes child abuse, domestic violence, or even damage to your property! So you can't have it both ways!! Animals need someone or a group of people to speak for them, just as children need advocates! Wrong is wrong, what these people did was WRONG!!!
    • reply
      by From someone who was there from the day these horses were discovered on Dec 2, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to Tea Party Conservative
      does not include starving 41 horses.... I don't care what you do with your land... but the land did not belong to them and they had 41 horses on less than 2 acres of land.. I saw all this first hand.. the land owner even found a dead horse after these no good people moved out behind the house with nothing but a tarp thrown over it. Just discarded like a piece of trash.. There is a place in hell for people like the Walkers.
  • by animals are worth more than people Location: ga on Dec 1, 2011 at 04:16 PM
    got off pretty easy.wonder who stood up in court and spoke how great they are? these south ga. judges and law makes me sick.
  • by A on Dec 1, 2011 at 01:21 PM
    Of course these heartless people didn't take care of the animals! How much does it cost to take care of 41 horses per day and how long was this going on? That is how much the fine should be, times two! Not $125. They probably blow that in one night doing other illegal things...
  • by Elizabeth Location: Tallahassee on Dec 1, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    I don't know which is worse; the folks that abuse the animals or the authorities that let it go on too long. How pathetic. Shame on you, Thomasville.
  • by Dee Location: Tallahassee on Dec 1, 2011 at 12:15 PM
    How utterly despicable! There is never adequate punishment for people abusing animals. It's so pathetic, the animal can't even ask anyone for help! But God will exact ultimate justice, so watch out.
    • reply
      by Really? on Dec 1, 2011 at 05:14 PM in reply to Dee
      I always wonder why people say God will exact such terrible justice on a sinner. All they have to do is ask God for forgiveness and everthing is wiped clean - correct? Funny how Christians love the hell fire and brim stone parts of the Bible but they always seem to forget that Jesus preached forgiveness and to turn the other cheek.
      • reply
        by Ron Paul Fan on Dec 2, 2011 at 03:56 AM in reply to Really?
        I agree. Don't go after this couple. According to the constitution, they did nothing wrong. Keep government out of my property.
        • reply
          by From someone who was there from the day these horses were discovered on Dec 2, 2011 at 08:21 PM in reply to Ron Paul Fan
          well, i can tell you they did a hell of alot wrong. When you starve an animal to death that is wrong. We found one dead horse out there while we were helping these people feed their horses because they couldn't afford to feed them. You apparently have about as much common sense as Ron Paul... What the hell are you doing with 41 horses and no income coming into your household and still breeding the horses?
  • by VillageGal Location: S. GA on Dec 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM
    Is this the most severe punishment these offenders could have received? If so, the county or state or whatever group made this determination needs to get their behinds to the Rescue facility and tend these animals themselves. This is a travesty and leaves me nauseated.
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