Rescue Operator Pleads Guilty to Cruelty Charge

Alesha Matchett, the woman accused of starving 16 horses at the Colorado animal rescue she once operated, has plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty under a plea agreement entered in Larimer County District court last week.

According to Linda Jensen, public information officer for the court, Matchett will undergo psychiatric counseling and will serve four years of probation, during which time she will be limited to keeping only 10 animals on her property.

"Local animal welfare authorities will conduct monthly site visits to make sure the animals are being taken care of," Jensen said.

Matchett was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty on Dec. 29, 2007, after Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden ordered the removal of 27 animals, including 16 emaciated or malnourished horses, from the Animal Angels Horse Rescue, operated by Matchett.

She had rejected a similar plea deal last April, but accepted the agreement in advance of her trial, which was slated for Aug. 13.

Details concerning community service and restitution for the animals' care will be decided during sentencing proceedings, which Jensen said are scheduled to take place Oct. 1.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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