Weatherford Democrat

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August 30, 2013

Woman gets jail in horse deaths

Caretaker for nine horses that died in heat of 2011 summer draws one-year confinement

(Continued)

Owner Keith Hall, who was not in Weatherford at the time the horses were found, reportedly told investigators he did not feed the majority of the horses more than they grazed and that, though he had ample hay in his barn, he only put out hay in the winter months.

Pharis claimed she was not responsible for the horses at the time of their deaths, but the jury found that Pharis failed to make sure the animals had food and water.

Pharis also claimed she called Hall over several days before they were found dead and notified him of the horses’ worsening condition but he told her not to give them hay and that they would be OK until he returned to town. 

A tenth horse, 1990 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open Champion horse Millie Montana, was found in a stall nearby during the sheriff’s office investigation. After being evaluated by a veterinarian, Millie Montana was euthanized due to her health issues and pain impacting her quality of life.

Pharis originally accepted a plea deal in January 2012 that would have resulted in two years probation in exchange for pleading guilty to one charge cruelty to livestock animals.

Pharis was booked into the Parker County Jail Wednesday.

Hall faces eight class A misdemeanor charges of cruelty to livestock animals, as well as three possession of a dangerous drug charges, according to court records.

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