Archived Story

Polk County woman pleads guilty in horse cruelty case

Published 11:33am Monday, December 16, 2013
The six-year-old horse at the center of the animal cruelty case, as originally reported in the Tryon Daily Bulletin on July 22, 2013.
The six-year-old horse at the center of the animal cruelty case, as originally reported in the Tryon Daily Bulletin on July 22, 2013.

Christy Ledbetter of Mill Spring pled guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in Polk County District Court on Dec. 11. Judge Peter Knight presided in the case of a horse in her care.

Ledbetter was sentenced to a maximum term of 45 days in Polk County Jail, with the sentence suspended for 18 months of unsupervised probation, during which Polk County Animal Cruelty investigators can perform warrantless searches of her property to check on the welfare of any animals there.

Ledbetter also was ordered to pay restitution to Foothills Equine Rescue and Assistance (FERA) for medical costs and care provided to the horse to pay court costs and to reimburse the state for legal representation provided.

Lead Animal Cruelty Investigator Patti Lovelace said, “This was the right outcome for this case and we’re glad that, with her plea, the defendant has admitted responsibility for her actions. Polk County has resources to help anyone having trouble caring for a horse: you just need to call Vard Henry about FERA at Foothills Humane Society at 828-863-4444.”

The charges against Ledbetter were filed in September 2013 based on a situation that began in July.

A passerby alerted animal control to a loose horse in bad condition on July 10. The condition of the horse prompted animal control to call in animal cruelty investigators. The horse was surrendered to FERA, which provided care for approximately two months.

The horse has since been returned to its original owner in South Carolina, where it continues to recover.

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