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June 26, 2013

Abused Shetland pony put down

Officials euthanize malnourished, neglected horse

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A wounded, malnourished Shetland pony seized earlier in the month during an animal cruelty investigation near Springtown was euthanized over the weekend.

Though those caring for the pony after the seizure had hoped the suffering animal, called Achilles, might respond to treatment and later undergo surgery, test results that came back Friday afternoon were not positive and the pony was euthanized later that day.

The pony’s owner, 45-year-old Jesse Ray Cross, and caretaker, Franky Lynn Hatcher, were arrested June 14 and charged with cruelty to livestock animals, according to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office.

Animal control officers responded to the 3000 block of East State Highway 199 June 13 and found the animal with a large, open, infected wound on its genitals and rib and hip bones visibly protruding due to extreme malnutrition, according to the sheriff’s office.

The pony exhibited signs of a high level of pain when it attempted to walk and the Shetland’s hooves were overgrown and split from apparent neglect, the sheriff’s office reported.

There was no hay or food near the animal and the only water supply contained leaves and debris and was swarming with mosquitoes, authorities reported. When the animal was presented fresh water, it reportedly drank quickly due to apparent dehydration.

Both men were released June 15 on $2,500 bond on the misdemeanor charges.

A message left at Cross’ listed number was not returned by deadline. The Democrat was unable to reach Hatcher for comment.

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