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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Rocky Mount woman guilty of animal cruelty
‘Shotgun’ has gained over 100 pounds and is doing ‘great’
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Courtesy Photo: Shotgun, who weighed less than 200 pounds when he was brought to the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue in May, now weighs 327 pounds and is doing great, according to rescue founder Pat Muncy.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

A Rocky Mount woman was found guilty Tuesday of animal cruelty for nearly starving a colt she owned.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II sentenced Lacinda Kay St. Clair, 31, to 12 months and sent her directly to jail.

"You had to know that colt was starving," Alexander told St. Clair. "There is nothing more cruel than to deprive an animal of food....And I have seen no remorse from you."

St. Clair was also fined $2,500, the maximum for a cruelty charge. She was also found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of failing to provide sufficient food and medical treatment for an adult horse for which she was fined an additional $250.

Alexander also prohibited St. Clair from owning any animals, including dogs, cats or horses, for three years.

Three other misdemeanor charges against St. Clair were dismissed as a result of a plea agreement with the commonwealth attorney's office.

The charges are the result of a call to animal control from the sheriff's office on April 30 about an emaciated colt lying in a mud puddle, unable to stand, according to prosecutor Patrick Nix. When the animal control officers visited a pasture on Stave Mill Road they found a 3-month-old colt in dire need of care.

The colt weighed only 198 pounds, about half of what he should have weighed, according to Pat Muncy, director of the Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue in Hardy, where the colt was taken for treatment and rehabilitation.

Dr. Tony Hutchins, a veterinarian, rated the colt's condition as a one on a 10-point scale. After testing, Hutchins determined that "the colt's emaciation is due to malnutrition and competition from six older horses for available feed."

"There was no feed available for these horses and the pasture was bare," he added. "Trees, bushes and all grass available outside the fenced area was gone as far as the horses could reach over the fence, indicating the problem had been going on for a while."

Hutchins rated the other horses' condition as poor, except one, which was rated as fair. When animal control officers returned to the pasture, the other four horses belonging to St. Clair had been moved to an unknown location, according to Capt. Marvin Woods with animal control.

St. Clair told the court she had made other arrangements for the four adult horses.

Alexander told St. Clair Tuesday afternoon that he would consider suspending part of her jail sentence once the other four horses are located, depending upon their condition.

As for the colt, he was bathed and treated with fluids and vitamins, Muncy said. "Shotgun" was initially placed in a medical hoist to help him stand, and the colt was fed grain every two to four hours, along with all the hay he could eat, water and electrolytes, Muncy said.

Shotgun is now able to stand on his own and weighs 327 pounds, Muncy said. But the colt will remain as a permanent resident of the rescue.

"He's doing great," Muncy said, "but his growth is stunted significantly, and we know he will continue to have health issues."

As a permanent resident of the rescue, Shotgun will need monthly sponsors to provide for him, Muncy added. The rescue is currently caring for 54 horses.

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