Judge finds man charged in horse cruelty case not guilty - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge finds man charged in horse cruelty case not guilty

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
COPIAH COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A Copiah County judge has found a horse dealer not guilty on more than a hundred counts of animal cruelty involving dozens of injured, dying and in some cases, dead horses.

Jerry Earls and his volunteer assistant Victor Smith were both acquitted on charges Thursday.

"You don't hold it against every horse buyer in the state of Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, or nowhere else," said Earls. "You know, they didn't have nothing to do with this. If anybody's to blame, I am." 

The discovery of emaciated and injured animals in November of last year prompted an investigation of the property.

Seven animals were removed, with four in serious condition.

"It was not pleasant. It was horrific, and we'll never forget it," said Alisha Armstrong.

She and her husband made the discovery while inquiring about land where the horses were kept.

Now, she's very frustrated with the judge's decision.

"I'm unpleased with the verdict," said Armstrong. "Because the only way anybody's going to learn is someone being convicted of it." 

Earls' attorney, Byron Carter, said it came down to one thing with the judge: what condition the horses were in when they arrived in Earls' care, and that's something only Earls knows.

"It becomes a judgment call on whether his treatment was getting them better, keeping them the same, or making them worse," said Carter.

The judge also told Earls he should have taken them to the vet sooner, but stood by her not guilty decision.

"A man got his own choice to do," said Earls. "He can either take em to the vet, or he ain't got to, you know. But the way the law reads, you need to take them to the vet." 

Now it all leaves a sour taste in Armstrong's mouth because neither the owner nor the caretaker will face charges.

"It's very disappointing that nobody's being held accountable for this," Armstrong said.

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