Owners fail to pick up their once malnourished horses

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Some horses involved in an animal cruelty case in Pender County were healthy enough to return to their owners Monday, but their owners never came back for them.

Lisa Watts has been caring for the horses since they were rescued from the Suttles' Farm last month.  A week ago, owners Billy Joe Suttles, his wife Laura Westbrock, and his brother Larry Suttles pled no contest to one count of animal cruelty each.

Saturday, a judge-appointed veterinarian deemed the horses healthy enough to be given back to their owners.  Just two days later, Watts waited all afternoon to return the horses, but the Suttles never showed up.

Watts said she is worried for the fate of the horses, since it appears the owners aren't making them a priority.

"I can honestly say they will leave here knowing somebody fed them and cared for them," said Watts.  "I did all I could do."

As part of the plea agreement a veterinarian will be checking on the horses throughout the year, but Watts doesn't believe they will get the care they need.  She fears they may end up the way they were before.

According to the District Attorney's Office, if the owners do not tend to their horses they will be euthanized or adopted.

So while Watts is tired of waiting, she says she just wants the best for the horses and will continue to donate her time.

Watts told WECT the Suttles hadn't picked up their horses as of Monday evening because they are trying to get a permit for a trailer.

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