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Independence Woman Pleads Guilty To Animal Neglect

A herd of 16 horses on Pedee Creek Road have been seized by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after showing signs of neglect. Also seized were four goats and four llamas. The Polk County Sheriff’s Posse is feeding the animals.

A herd of 16 horses on Pedee Creek Road have been seized by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after showing signs of neglect. Also seized were four goats and four llamas. The Polk County Sheriff’s Posse is feeding the animals. Photo by Emily Mentzer.

DALLAS — Donna Dovey, of Independence, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of animal neglect as part of an agreement with the court, Sheriff Mark Garton said.

Dovey was charged with 22 counts of animal neglect — one for every animal she kept on leased property on Pedee Creek Road.

“Part of the agreement was to forfeit all the animals to us, which she did, and pay restitution,” Garton said. “We’ve put in about $12,000 so far.”

Dovey had 16 horses, three llamas and goats on the property. The level of neglect varied between animals.

The poor condition of some of the animals weren’t necessarily from something Dovey caused, Garton said, but she didn’t fix it, either.

“We have rehomed all of the horses,” he said. “We’re going to put seven of them down for various reasons, according to the veterinarian we use. They’re going to Wildlife Safari in Winston.”

Garton said the horse community would rather have horses used somewhere rather than be euthanized and put in the garbage.

Of the three llamas, one has already found a home, Garton said.

“Llamas are pretty good if you have three or four horses,” he said. “They’re protector-guardian type animals.”

One goat remains to be homed, a half pigmy, half feinting goat.

Also part of the agreement, Dovey cannot own domestic animals for five years and has 30 to 60 days to find homes for those she currently owns.

“People are saying she has another field of horses,” Garton said. “We’ll follow up as well. She’s trying to rehome those. It’s tough.”

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