California Horse Abuse Case Concludes After Three Years

Nearly three years after his 35 horses were seized by county authorities, James DeNoyer is on track to get four of the horses back after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of improper disposal of a dead animal during proceedings in Mendocino County, Calif., Superior Court on Aug. 27.

DeNoyer was charged with 35 counts of felony animal neglect in January 2006 after county animal control authorities removed the horses from his properties. Another horse was found dead.

Shortly after the seizure, DeNoyer and Mendocino County authorities reached an agreement allowing DeNoyer to retain four of the 35 seized horses pending the case's outcome, said Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Katherine Houston. The other horses were sold at auction in July 2006.

The neglect charges disappeared in July 2007 when a mistrial was declared after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the case.

"Judge Richard Henderson announced that DeNoyer would get his horses back under stipulations," said Houston.

According to Houston, Henderson ordered DeNoyer to reimburse the county $5,000 for the horses' care, to attend one semester of equine care education, and serve up to three years of summary probation, during which time he could own no more than four horses. The District Attorney's office will monitor the care of the horses that remain in DeNoyer's possession.

"The outcome is fine with us," said L. Stephen Turer, DeNoyer's attorney. "He was most concerned about getting his horses back."

DeNoyer is slated to appear in Mendocino County Superior Court Sept. 12 in connection with the reimbursement order. However, Turer said he hopes to settle the reimbursement issue prior to that date.

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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