DA encourages tougher stance on animal cruelty

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cruelty to animals of any type is not to be tolerated and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

That was the message District Attorney John Andrews shared with members and guests of the Butler County Humane Society on Wednesday.

A case of “senseless” horse cruelty being brought before the county circuit court later this month is especially troubling, Andrews said.

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Alfonzo Warren of Kolb City Road allegedly starved a horse on his property. Despite emergency medical intervention at Auburn University on the horse’s behalf, the animal died. A concerned neighbor, Rocky Schofield, described the death as “a complete shutdown of organs.”

“I was told by the doctors at Auburn they had never in the history of the college seen a horse still alive that was in such an emaciated state,” Schofield told those in attendance.

Schofield said she had long been concerned about the “neglectful” situation animals were experiencing on Warren’s property. She said she had offered on numerous occasions to purchase the horse because of its condition, but Warren always refused. Schofield, who is away from home on business much of the time, said she had also provided food and water to the animal whenever possible.

“Every time we came back, the horse was in worse shape. I am just so sorry intervention didn’t come in time to save this poor animal,” Schofield said.

According to Andrews, abuse of dogs or cats can bring felony charges. However, in the State of Alabama, cruelty to livestock is classified as a misdemeanor.

“That means the maximum in Warren’s case would be six months in the county jail and/ or a $3,000 fine. I am going to urge the maximum in this case,” Andrews said.

Andrews urged those present and other area animal advocates to take a stand against animal cruelty by planning to attend Warren’s court date, slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 22 upstairs in the Butler County Courthouse.

“I would also encourage you to contact your legislators and ask them to help change the law so any type of animal cruelty – dogs, cats, horses, cattle – would be considered a felony,” Andrews said.

“Cattle rustling has also come back like it’s the wild west and we are seeing far more abuse out there these days. The Sheriff’s Department is now working out details whereby we can all be better educated on handling such cases. If you see a suspected case of animal cruelty, please let local law enforcement know.”