19 horses seized from Lakeland farm in disturbing cruelty case - WKRN News 2

19 horses seized from Lakeland farm in disturbing cruelty case

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"Dixie Boy" has gained 91 pounds since he was removed from the farm. PCSO photo "Dixie Boy" has gained 91 pounds since he was removed from the farm. PCSO photo
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

A Lakeland couple is accused in a disturbing case of animal cruelty after Polk County Sheriff's Deputies seized 19 horses from their farm, one of which was in such bad shape it died while a veterinarian was treating it.

Jacob Caudy, age 28, and Emily Cowper, age 24, face more than 90 charges in connection with the case.

19 horses, 14 snakes, two iguanas, a dog, a cat and a kitten, an African grey parrot and a lovebird were removed from the couple's farm located at 6708 Broken Arrow Trail South.

"This man and woman not only neglected horses, leading to the death of one, they stole money and lied to law enforcement. They don't deserve to have any animals in their possession, ever again," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Investigators say they discovered animals at the farm were not being properly cared for when they were investigating an animal abuse case concerning a horse that was boarded at the property.

The couple had been paid since 2011 to care for an 9-year-old thoroughbred horse named "Dixie Boy".

Investigators say Dixie Boy was found at the farm in a skeletal state on April 24. He had been confined in a fenced area without sufficient food or water. The suspects told deputies they had taken Dixie Boy to the vet a week prior, but the deputies were able to prove otherwise. Dixie Boy was turned over to PCSO at that time.

Deputies say several other horses and animals on the property did not have sufficient food, water, or care. One of the 19 horses seized was emaciated, dehydrated and in distress. The horse died on-scene while being treated by a veterinarian, according to the PCSO. Caudy told deputies that horse was his, and had been laying on the ground for at least one day.

All of the animals removed from the farm are at PCSO Animal Control.

Seven of the seized horses are at PCSO Animal Control being treated by the PCSO Animal Control veterinarian. Ten of the more healthy horses are at a PCSO stockade in Bartow. The deceased horse is having a necropsy performed a PCSO Animal Control. Dixie Boy is at Hope Equine Rescue in Auburndale and is recovering. He has gained 91 pounds in the last four weeks.

During a search of the residence, deputies located a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s badge, which Caudy told deputies he stole from a residence while visiting a friend whose husband is a HCSO deputy sheriff.

Caudy was booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:

  • One count petit theft
  • One count felony animal cruelty
  • 45 counts confining animal without sufficient food and water

Cowper was booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:

  • One count perjury
  • One count grand theft
  • One count felony animal cruelty
  • 45 counts confining animal without sufficient food and water

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