WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Palm Beach County horse owner surrendered at the Palm Beach County Jail late Wednesday on 14 animal cruelty charges, three weeks after authorities seized skinny stallions and other breeds from a Loxahatchee property.
Janet E. Greene, 47, of Port St. Lucie, is charged with 13 counts of felony cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of unlawful abandonment or confinement of animal.
Greene had her first appearance before a judge Thursday and was initially held in custody pending a bail of $58,500, said Assistant State Attorney Sam Miller. Jail records on Thursday night showed she was still in jail, but her bail was reduced to $7,500.
"We're happy to see her being criminally charged," said Capt. Dave Walesky, operations manager for Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control. "The horses were not being fed properly."
According to arrest records, Animal Care and Control officers on Aug. 25 received a complaint about numerous emaciated horses living on a property in the 3100 block of C Road in Loxahatchee.
Beginning Aug. 29, the officers began making frequent checks on the horses and issuing warnings to Greene, who did not own the land but was keeping the horses with a friend. The arrest report states that on Sept. 13, an officer spotted horses with visible rib and hip bones, a lack of shelter for some of the animals and muddy paddocks.
Feed bills show that 16 horses were being fed a total of 51 pounds of hay per day, well below the recommended amount of 320 pounds of hay, according a statement from Animal Care and Control Sgt. Max Sharpe.
Finally, on Nov. 7, Animal Care and Control served a warrant and seized 14 of Greene's horses. The report indicates that two of the horses counted in the investigation, Pirate and Jordan, "had to be relieved of their suffering by being euthanized."
"Over this time period Mrs. Greene was offered help by means of food, adopting or even purchasing of the horses and she refused to provide these horses with human decency to be placed in new homes, adequate food and proper medical attention," Sharpe wrote.
After seizing the horses, veterinarians scored each on the Henneke scale, ranging from a 1 for emaciated to 5 being ideal weight. All but one horse was rated between a 1 and a 2.
But today the surviving horses are gaining weight and recovering, Walesky said, crediting financial support from donors who wanted to come to the horses' rescue.
"We're working with them on a feeding plan," he said. "We're happy with the progress we're making."
The next goal is to get a judge to award ownership of the horses to Animal Care and Control, and then put them up for adoption.
Greene is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 13, according to her court file. Each felony count carries a prison sentence of up to five years in prison, while the misdemeanor charge has a maximum sentence of up to one year.
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