Case Snapshot
Case ID: 2774
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
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Saturday, Oct 2, 2004

County: Colusa

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 3 files available

Defendants/Suspects:
» Sally Keaton
» Clark Friel - Alleged

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Felony animal abuse charges have been filed in Colusa County against a Yolo County woman on suspicion she did not provide care for a horse. Sally Keaton, 52, of Dunnigan, was charged with animal cruelty and permitting an animal to go without proper care, according to Pamela Craig, an investigator with the Colusa County District Attorney's Office.

Keaton has not been arrested, Craig said, but the mare was seized Saturday.

"It's really an unfortunate lesson in a severe neglect case," said Cindy Machado, animal services director and a horse specialist for the American Humane Society in Marin County.

The horse, corralled in College City near Arbuckle, suffered from a fly infestation and hooves over 6 inches long, Craig said. The horse also had sores on its hips, which could be due to the horse falling and not being able to get back on its feet, Craig said.

A volunteer with the Colusa County Animal Control Unit inspected the horse and found it with a severe fly infestation. Investigators took photos of the horse and showed them to a veterinarian, who recommended the horse be seized, Craig said.

The county animal control unit received complaints that the horse's hooves were overgrown and curled up and the horse was having difficulty walking, Craig said.

Machado said a horse's hooves grow one-eighth to one-half inch every month and should be trimmed every six to eight weeks.

County officials notified the College City property owner, Clark Friel, but he said he sold the horse to Keaton a year ago and that she never came to pick the horse up despite numerous requests, Craig said.

Friel told investigators that since the horse wasn't his property, he wasn't responsible for her care. Craig said the District Attorney's Office plans to investigate his claim.

Friel told investigators he last saw Keaton visiting the horse about two and a half weeks ago, Craig said.

"It is having extreme difficulty walking, (it's) obviously in a huge amount of pain," Craig said. The horse appeared underweight, she said, and there were no signs of hay bales in the horse's corral.

"I think she was grazing off weeds in the field," she said.

The horse was transferred to a foster home Saturday before it goes today to the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Large Animal Clinic.

The horse will undergo therapy for up to a year, possibly longer, depending on the damage, Machado said.

"It's going to take the horse time to get normal hooves again, if they can be rehabilitated," Craig said.

Keaton arrived at the corral while investigators were preparing to move the animal, Craig said. Keaton clipped the horse's hooves and in the process caused the horse more pain than was necessary, Craig said.

"Keaton was on scene and kept requesting we release the horse to her," Craig said. Investigators denied Keaton's request. Veterinarians tranquilized the horse and loaded it into a vehicle by forklift, Craig said.

Keaton claimed she attended Porterville Horse Shoeing School and is a trained farrier, Craig said.

Although the horse's hooves are now clipped, it is still having extreme difficulty walking, Craig said.

The cost of care and treatment will be set as a lien against Keaton's home.

The horse's condition isn't fixed simply by clipping the hooves, Machado said. In cases like this, the hooves need to be X-rayed because the bone may reach down into part of the hoof and cutting it off can cause severe problems for the horse, she said.

Also, the horse may suffer muscle pain from a sudden change to its feet. Machado likened it to a woman in high heels changing into sandals.

"Your feet get sore," she said.

In the wild, horse's hooves are naturally trimmed by running and crossing rocky terrain. Domestication, confinement and diet have reduced a horse's ability to trim its own hooves, Machado said.

Despite the suffering she endured, Machado said, the horse is in remarkably good spirits.


Case Updates

Sally Keaton of Dunnigan, pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse and neglect charges.
Source: Appeal Democrat - July 29, 2007
Update posted on Jul 29, 2007 - 1:17PM 
The Colusa County District Attorney's office filed felony animal abuse charges Tuesday against a College City property owner who boarded a neglected a horse that was euthanized Oct. 4.

The charge, against Clark Friel, 62, follows the same charge filed earlier this month against Sally Keaton, 51, of Dunnigan, who purchased the horse from Friel more than a year ago.

District Attorney investigator Pamela Craig said she had intended to recommend filing charges against Friel all along.

"I just had to conduct further investigation and research," she said. "Plus, the Keaton case took extensive time and resources, and I can only do one at a time."

Keaton's first appearance is set for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 Nov. 2, Craig said. No court date has been set for Friel.

Animal control officer Courtney Elliott and Friends of the Colusa County Animal Shelter volunteer Dee Ohliger were instrumental in helping remove the horse from the property, Craig said.
Source: The Appeal-Democrat - Oct 21, 2004
Update posted on Oct 21, 2004 - 10:26PM 
A horse that allegedly suffered from a year of neglect in Colusa County was euthanized Monday because veterinarians felt it would never recover from its injuries, according to a Colusa County District Attorney's Office investigator.

Investigators seized the mare, a 6-year-old named "Miss Hope," from a corral in College City near Arbuckle on Saturday and transferred her to the University of California, Davis, for medical care, according to investigator Pamela Craig.

"They took x-rays and tried to make the horse as comfortable as possible," Craig said. "They called me Monday morning and advised me that there was no improvement and the horse was obviously suffering and in extreme pain."

The mare's owner, 52-year-old Sally Keaton of Dunnigan, is charged with animal abuse, according to Craig. No additional charges have been filed following the horse's death, Craig said. She has not been arrested.

If Keaton is convicted, the sentence carries up to $20,000 in fines or one year in jail or both. She also could be barred from owning, caring for or possessing any animal if the judge so chooses as part of any probation sentencing, Craig said. Craig said Keaton is also responsible for the mare's care and burial, which will total more than $2,100.

No one from the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Large Animal Clinic was available to comment on the horse's condition.

Keaton gave permission to end the mare's suffering, Craig said. Craig said Keaton offered no comment on why she left the horse alone for so long.

Craig said Keaton stated she wasn't aware the horse's condition was so bad.
Source: The Appeal-Democrat - Oct 7, 2004
Update posted on Oct 9, 2004 - 12:54PM 

References

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