The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Lulu, a 28-year-old Appaloosa mare, had to be euthanized after aggressive treatment for her malnutrition failed to produce results. The horse’s owner has been indicted on animal cruelty charges.
Friday, March 8, 2013
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
A Boones Mill woman has been indicted on two counts of animal cruelty in connection with a malnourished horse that she owned.
Sherry Renee Overfelt, 41, was indicted Monday by a Franklin County grand jury on one count of depriving an animal of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinarian treatment and one count of failing to provide feed, water and veterinary treatment for her horse.
Both charges are misdemeanors.
After receiving complaints about a starving horse, Capt. Marvin Woods with animal control visited a pasture on Crooked Run Road where Overfelt's three horses were living. In the pasture, Woods found a 28-year-old Appaloosa mare (Lulu) that weighed only 575 pounds, he said.
After being charged with inadequate care of an agricultural animal, Overfelt surrendered Lulu and one other horse to the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue in Hardy on Jan. 23, Woods said.
Rescue Director Patricia Muncy described Lulu as "extremely emaciated with no muscle tone" and noted that the horse's backbone, hip and "bone skeleton" were visible. The horse was weak and unable to stand on her own, Muncy said. Lulu was placed in a medical hoist to support her body and help her stand.
When Lulu was examined by large animal veterinarian Dr. Chris Sumner, he ruled out other causes for her weight loss and said she suffered from severe anemia and low blood proteins.
"I believe this mare was severely malnourished and this caused her death," Sumner said in a written statement. "Despite aggressive IV fluids, antibiotics and steroids, she did not respond and had to be euthanized."
The second horse surrendered to the rescue by Overfelt is an 8-year-old Saddlebred gelding (Neptune) that weighed 802 pounds, Muncy said. Although his hips and ribs were visible, Neptune is responding well to his new diet and had gained 76 pounds by Feb. 18.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but it is a determination by jurors that enough evidence exists to warrant a trial.