Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5836
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
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Tuesday, Oct 25, 2005

County: Maricopa

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendants/Suspects:
» Cynthia Karen Voss
» Kim Kolstad - Dismissed

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

The operators of an animal sanctuary in Surpise are under investigation on neglect charges after authorities were called to the remote ranch and found several horses that were in such poor health that they had to be euthanized.

Three of the 52 horses had to be put down and five others were remove so that they could be treated by veterinarians, said Sgt. Kip Rustenburg, a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

Investigators will monitor the other horses being allowed to remain at the ranch, which is northwest of Grand Avenue and Loop 303, Rustenburg said.

The ranch is operated by The Hooved Animal Humane Society of Arizona Inc., a group that offers shelter to endangered animals, including horses and poultry, that need "a second chance at a new life," according to the group's Web site.

Deputies were called to the ranch, 23010 N. 185th Ave., just south of Pinnacle Peak Road, after callers voiced concern about the welfare of horses there, Rustenburg said.

Kim Kolstad, the president of the humane group, said the three horses that had to be put down, as well as the five others taken away for veterinary care, already were in poor physical shape when the charity offered them sanctuary.

Kolstad said she remains confident that she and Robert and Cynthia Voss, the ranch operators, will be able to offer proper care to the 44 horses allowed to remain. Money was not available to provide veterinary care to the five horses hauled away, she said.

Kolstad said the animal charity has been in operation for about 10 years, but has taken a terrible financial beating because of this year's hurricane disasters on the Gulf Coast.

Contributions have dried up, probably because of money that is now being offered for hurricane relief, Kolstad said.

She said that for the past few weeks, she and the Voss couple have been feeding horses at the ranch largely from their own pockets while skipping payments on consumer debts.

"We did the best we could," Kolstad said. "We are beyond our financial resources."

Rustenburg, the sheriff's spokeswoman, said Kolstad and Cynthia Voss are suspects in the animal-neglect probe.

Kolstad said she appreciates the help received Tuesday. She said, if necessary, she will provide documentation that horses at the ranch were provided the best care that the limited financial resources would allow.

The non-profit group, according to its Web site, offers sanctuary to horses that are old, have medical problems and have been the victims of abuse.

It puts rehabilitated horses up for adoption, or offers shelter for animals that cannot be adopted, for whatever reason.


Case Updates

County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced that Cynthia Karen Voss has been sentenced to four months in jail and three years supervised probation for animal cruelty. The charges stem from the 2005 discovery of severely neglected horses in her care. Voss previously pled guilty to two counts of animal cruelty, both class six felonies.

Responding to complaint, detectives from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office visited Voss property, the Hooved Animal Humane Society of Arizona, on October 25, 2005 and found approximately fifty horses occupying five acres. An inspection revealed at least ten horses in various stages of neglect or abandonment. Voss admitted to the detectives that she could not afford either feed or veterinary care for the horses.

The detectives contacted a veterinarian who inspected the animals, one of which had to be promptly euthanized.

As a result of Voss adopting horses that she could not adequately care for, at least 11 horses suffered from protracted pain, some of which were euthanized.

"Owners or caregivers of horses or other animals cannot neglect the animals in their charge," said Thomas. "I am glad to see that the criminal neglect of these horses will result in jail time and accountability for the offender."

Voss has a previous misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals conviction in Yavapai County and was on unsupervised probation for that offense at the time these offenses were committed.

Her probation required that she comply with Arizona Agriculture of Department regulations and provide adequate food and water for all horses 24 hours a day

Voss will serve the sentence in Navajo County.
Source: Maricopa County Attorney's Office Press Release - May 18, 2007
Update posted on May 31, 2007 - 3:12PM 
A 45-year-old Surprise woman is behind bars on the afternoon of Aug 2 for felony animal abuse. Lindsey Smith with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said it's one of the worst cases she's seen in years.

"Originally eight horses - three were put down immediately due to starvation issues, physical abuse - really nasty stuff," she said.

Cynthia Voss originally faced misdemeanor charges but after careful review of the situation, she now faces more series charges. Watch the case file on Pet-Abuse.Com for more information.
Source: KTAR - Aug 2, 2006
Update posted on Aug 3, 2006 - 11:55AM 
Prosecutors have dropped animal-cruelty charges against two Surprise women who operate a horse rescue charity.

Cynthia Voss, 44, and Kim Kolstad, 20, were charged with 10 cruelty counts, all misdemeanors, after Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided their ranch Oct. 25, 2005 in an animal-abuse investigation. Deputies described some of the horses there as neglected and sickly. They said three of 52 had to be euthanized and five others were removed for treatment.

The charges were pending in the Hassayampa Justice Court, formerly known as the Wickenburg Justice Court, but were dismissed at the request of the prosecution during a hearing in May 2006. Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, declined to discuss the reasons for the dismissal. However, FitzGerald said the charges were dropped "without prejudice," meaning they can be filed again.
"The case is still actively under review by prosecutors in our office," he said.


Neither Voss nor Kolstad could be reached for comment. Their ranch, northwest of U.S. 60 and Loop 303, is operated by Hooved Animal Society of Arizona Inc.
Source: Az Central News - June 23, 2006
Update posted on Jun 25, 2006 - 6:57PM 
Animal-cruelty charges have been filed against two Surprise women who operate a horse rescue charity.

Cynthia Voss, 44, and Kim Kolstad, 20, are to be arraigned Feb. 14 in Hassayampa Justice Court, formerly known as Wickenburg Justice Court, on 10 cruelty counts, all misdemeanors, authorities said.

They came under investigation Oct. 25 when Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided their remote ranch in an animal-abuse investigation.

Three of 52 horses had to be euthanized and five others were removed for treatment, deputies said.

Police said the horses were neglected and sickly.

The ranch, 23010 N. 185th Ave., northwest of U.S. 60 and Loop 303, is operated by Hooved Animal Humane Society of Arizona Inc., which offers shelter to endangered animals, poultry and birds.

Kolstad, the group's president, said contributions used to support animals dried up after last year's hurricane disasters on the nation's Gulf Coast.

"We did the best we could," Kolstad said shortly after the sheriff's raid.

Court records show Voss with a previous animal-cruelty conviction in Yavapai County.
Source: AZ Central - Jan 25, 2006
Update posted on Jan 25, 2006 - 2:55PM 

References

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