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October 25, 2011

The HSUS Reacts to Sentences in Oregon Horse Neglect Case

ROSEBURG, Ore.— The Humane Society of the United States commends the sentence handed down by  Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Ambrosini for two women in the case of a horse who was severely starved while in their care. Teresa Ann Dicke was found guilty of first-degree animal neglect and first-degree animal abuse, and Linda Diane Fessenden was found guilty of second-degree animal neglect. Dicke was sentenced to eight months in jail, and Fessenden was sentenced to 90 days in jail. The Judge required that the defendants not possess any “domestic animals” for five years, but declined to grant the prosecution’s request to expand that prohibition to horses. 

“It is hard to comprehend the terrible suffering this gentle little mare endured. There is no excuse for starving an animal and neglecting her basic needs,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The HSUS. “While we are pleased that the judge imposed substantial terms of incarceration for the defendants, we wish the court had prohibited them from owning horses in the future. This case underscores the need to expand the prohibition on possession of animals by those convicted of animal cruelty to all animals. Right now, there is nothing to prevent these defendants from subjecting more horses to the same terrible treatment that Grace received at their hands.”

In Oregon, animal neglect is a serious crime. In cases involving dogs and cats, the courts are required to prohibit those convicted from possessing animals for up to five years. Unfortunately, this provision does not apply to horses and other animals. 

The HSUS thanks the Douglas County District Attorney’s office and prosecutor Jaime Carmichael for their good work in achieving a measure of justice in this case. The Douglas County Sheriff and Animal Control Officer Lee Bartholomew should be acknowledged for taking animal cruelty seriously and giving it the attention it deserves. The HSUS also thanks Darla Clark and Strawberry Mountain Mustangs for providing Grace with loving care during the final few months of her life

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals work on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “HumaneTV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.  

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