Georgia Farm Operator Charged

A Georgia farm operator is facing multiple animal cruelty charges in connection with the alleged maltreatment of nearly 100 horses on her Thomas County property.

Thomas County Sheriff's Department Capt. Chuck McDonald said that on Feb. 20, sheriff's department and animal control personnel executed a warrant to remove horses and other animals from a Thomasville, Ga., farm. Personnel from The Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue Inc. (DCFHR) assisted the removal, he said.

Anita Meisen, DCFHR founder, said that as a result of the seizure, a total of 90 horses are under care of DCFHR and the Georgia Equine Rescue League. All were allegedly neglected, she said.

"Attending veterinarian Mary Rogers, DVM, examined the horses and determined that all were in need of veterinary care," Meisen said. "On average, the horses scored a 2.5 on the Henneke body condition scale."

Farm operator Rebecca Bannister was subsequently charged with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, McDonald said. More charges are pending.

"Charges will be filed for every horse that scores less than 4 on the Henneke scale," McDonald said. "She could face 32 more counts."

Bannister was unavailable for comment.

Meisen said the horses were allegedly used in the Dream High Farm equine assisted therapy program Bannister operated. Some of the removed horses were allegedly donated to the farm for that purpose, she said. Since the removal 14 of the donated horses have been returned to their former owners, Meisen said.

All the remaining horses are improving under rehabilitative treatment, she said.

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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