NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Three family members have been charged for the alleged mistreatment of several horses at a farm off Greenville Loop Road, according to officials with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office’s Animal Services.
“This particular situation, it’s a misdemeanor charge that we served the family, all three members, they received 12 each for the 11 horses, 1 mule for neglect, animal neglect,” said Lt. Jerry Brewer with the NHCSO.
On Friday, Robert Woody Jr., Judy Woody, and Sarah Woody all received 12 criminal summonses for misdemeanor animal neglect and are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 28.
“So they get a court date, we’ll present our evidence to the court and they’ll make a decision from there,” Brewer said.
According to a report, on July 14, an animal control officer received a call about a horse on the loose. While on that call, the officer saw an emaciated horse stuck in the mud and also noticed several other emaciated horses on the property.
Rescue crews were able to get the horse out of the mud, but it later died. A doctor called to the property evaluated the other horses and determined five were in bad shape and needed emergency attention.
The horses were surrendered to the Pendrosa Rescue and Sanctuary in Willard and were taken to Horton’s Rehab Ranch LLC for treatment.
“The family has been extremely cooperative and they just got in a situation like we all do in life where some things changed and they made some mistakes. There was never any mal-intent there. They’ve worked with us continuously. Every time we needed to come, everything we needed them to do they’ve done," Brewer said.
During the investigation, the owner of the property, Robert Woody Jr., told deputies he had fallen ill and his wife is in poor health. They asked their daughter Sarah Woody to care for the animals. Sarah works full time and is in school and had trouble keeping up with the horses’ care.
The family was able to keep four of their horses.
“The ones that stayed there were in a health condition that needed to be addressed, but was OK per the doctor for them to go ahead and stay there and they would get this addressed by the owner which they have. We didn’t just say OK and left them alone. We followed up every day with them to make sure it was being done, which it has," Brewer said.
The surviving horses are now in their forever homes.