It took a year to nurse them back to health, but eight foals and 30 horses have all recovered and have been recently adopted by good homes from the Ventura County Humane Society in Ojai. Seven horses still remain.
Reported by Alex Wilson
Joan, Ernie and Cecilia Bor all pled guilty to felony animal cruelty charges Monday, Dec. 21. They ran a horse breeding operation in Lockwood Valley at Cochema Ranch, from which half of the estimated 100 horses were seized by authorities in September and October 2008. Mountain Community residents and feed store owners who observed the Bors’ practices and had seen dead and abused horses wrote depositions that were turned them over to the Ventura County Sheriff’s substation in Lockwood Valley. Their vigilance triggered a massive raid on the facility by Ventura authorities.
Ventura County Presecutor Wendy Macfarlane said, “They didn’t feed their horses. They kept acquiring more horses when they couldn’t afford or weren’t able to take care of the horses they had. They also continued to breed horses when they couldn’t feed the ones they had. So it was gross neglect of the needs of the horses….”
Several horses died as law enforcement moved in. Two were euthanized because malnutrition had progressed so far.
“According to Ventura County Animal Regulation and the Humane Society, these animals starved to death,” Macfarlane said. “Doctor (Craig) Koerner testified at the preliminary hearing that the ones that died had starved to death.” She said lab results showed that the others were “slowly being starved to death” with malnutrition.
The Bors each pled guilty to four counts of animal cruelty, and the remaining nine were dismissed. They are to be sentenced on January 22, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 13 before Judge Bruce Young.
The judge offered them no more than 180 days in the Ventura County Jail and five years probation in exchange for their guilty pleas. The maximum they could have faced if they had been found guilty at trial is five years in state prison, and they could still be sent to prison if they violate their probation.
At the time of sentencing Deputy District Attorney Wendy Macfarlane will ask that the Bors be forbidden from owning any animals while they’re on probation. She’ll also ask for fines of up to $20,000 dollars each, she says. They were already forbidden from owning horses by a judge last June.
It has taken a year of care, but all but seven of the surviving horses have now recovered and have been adopted.
This is part of the December 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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