Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC Leon Junior Green, 59. (Source: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office) Latoya Diane Green, 33. (Source: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office)
CHEROKEE COUNTY, AL (WBRC) –
A couple from Gadsden is charged with animal cruelty after two horses were found starving in Cherokee County.
Leon Junior Green, 59, and Latoyah Diane Green, 33, are charged following an investigation by ALEA’s Agricultural Unit and Cherokee County’s Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control Unit. They are believed to be the owners of the horses and of the property on which they were found near the Cherokee-Etowah County line.
The horses were found in a pasture just off County Road 32 in Cherokee County, near the Etowah County line. Several neighbors and animal volunteers say they tried to rescue the horses but were repeatedly told there was nothing they could do since the horses were on private property.
One of those animal volunteers, Joell McBurnett, says she even had food and water in her car to give to the horses herself.
McBurnett says a neighbor provided names and numbers for the horse owners, and she called them and offered to buy the horses.
She says they arrived at the property emotional, saying they had tried to get help for the horses themselves.
"When you look at the pictures and see the videos, you have anger and you have hatred for these owners. But don’t!" an emotional McBurnett said.
McBurnett had posted pictures of the emaciated horses on Facebook along with videos, generating outrage among those who saw and shared them. But after meeting the couple, McBurnett had a change of heart.
"They just wanted us to save their animals. They didn’t know what to do. They showed up with a bottle of Gatorade and tomato juice because they didn’t know how, or what to do. They just didn’t know," she said.
One of the horses, Delores, had to be put down, but a second, a miniature Appaloosa named Baby D, is in a vet’s care.
McBurnett says she wants state lawmakers to pass new legislation putting livestock until animal cruelty statutes, and making it easier for abused or neglected animals to be rescued from private property. She wants to call it "Delores’ Law," after the horse that was put down Wednesday.
The Greens were booked into the Cherokee County Jail where they will be held pending a bond hearing.
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