OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bobby Travis on charges of animal cruelty Tuesday in relation to a case involving emaciated horses.
Travis faces one felony count of animal cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after one of his horses died and three others were seized.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office also opened an internal investigation related to the animal cruelty case. In a statement Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said an employee has resigned.
"An internal investigation has been initiated regarding this investigation. The front line supervisor responsible for this unit and this investigation has since resigned from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Stephen would like to assure the citizens of Okeechobee County of his commitment to quickly and properly investigate all crimes within his scope as Sheriff and will continue the internal investigation to ensure the checks in balances in place will safeguard against this in the future,” according to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office.
Over the weekend, concerned residents sounded off on social media after a woman posted pictures of horses that appeared malnourished, with ribs and hip bones clearly showing. One woman told WPTV she contacted animal control about the horses, located on 22nd Avenue, in May. Comments on social media show outrage that authorities did not step in faster to help the horses.
One horse was rescued by the Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation in Palm City Sunday as soon as they were notified about the condition of the horse. Rescuers named her “Freedom” before she passed away, they believe, from ongoing neglect.
Court records show Travis was cited and fined in 2012 for failing to provide horses he owned back then with clean living conditions.
The following year in 2013, WPTV news partners at the Palm Beach Post reported animal control seized an emaciated horse which had to be euthanized and seized another horse as part of an animal cruelty investigation. No charges were filed following that investigation.
The bond will be set when Travis makes his first appearance in court.