Drop criminal charges against dedicated Florida horsewoman in arbitrary cruelty case

Drop criminal charges against dedicated Florida horsewoman in arbitrary cruelty case

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Nicole Hutchins started this petition to Senator Marco Rubio and

For nearly a decade in Florida, professional horsewoman Nicole Hutchins of Pasco County, FL focused exclusively, deliberately and effectively toward relieving the state's rampant unwanted horse crisis through extensive rehabilitation, proper horsemanship, and careful rehoming. On November 20, 2019, she made a call for help regarding a stuck horse who the qualified rehabilitation specialist had just taken custody of earlier in the month. After 15 days exhibiting positive signs of improvement in Ms. Hutchins care, the compromised horse became stuck after laying down in a low lying corner of the yard in which he was unable to regain footing with the aid of Ms. Hutchins alone. Repeated attempts to help the horse to his feet turned the soggy grass area into a slick muddy trench rendering further unaided attempts futile. Ms. Hutchins turned her efforts toward keeping the horse calm while she sent for help across the neighborhood, where several serve as witness to the devoted horselady's commitment to this horse as well as any animal in or around her care. After exhausting all other options including contacting an emergency vet who was unable to assist in this type of call, the defendant herself prompted the 911 call for large animal rescue from a neighbor's cell phone as she comforted the horse who displayed positive vital signs including a healthy appetite for the soaked fortified forage Ms. Hutchins had been providing steady access to all along. The Pasco County rescue team promptly arrived in full force and did work successfully to secure and remove the horse from the entanglement, however proceeded to execute a flawed hoisting attempt which the horse did not survive. Photographic evidence supplied of the faulty contraption clearly indicates this was NOT designed or applied correctly to protect the horses vital organs, and this horse quickly succumbed to a suffocating death as a direct result of the misuse while the dedicated horsewoman desperately embraced the horse's head to console him through the untimely passing.

Ms. Hutchins was consequently arrested and charged with 7 counts of animal cruelty including one felony for the death of the horse, and six misdemeanors for each horse in her care at the time despite the apparent GOOD overall condition of the herd with record & witness. Complaint affidavit from the arrest & the petition for custody of neglected animals stated nothing of the county's failed hoisting attempt and rather falsely portrayed the defendant as simply unfit to care for horses resulting in the starving death of the one despite visible evidence to the contrary. Distorted media headlines sprawled national news and social media plastering the distraught horsewomans mug shot and reading, "7 horses found malnourished; 1 dead." Her beloved horses were subsequently turned over to Pasco County and displaced at auction despite a custody appeal in process at the time. Unable to afford private defense, and with an inconsistent provision of public defenders appointed to the case, the defendant is struggling to bring the factual and pertinent evidence of this case to light and faces a year in jail if convicted at trial. 

Provided photographic evidence of the incident available on record by the defendant, the State has since reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor in acknowledgement that the death was NOT in fact due to Ms. Hutchins' negligence. Additionally, 5 of the misdemeanor charges have been dropped for the horses in the defendants long term custody who scored perfectly on the body condition scale, however 2 misdemeanor charges are being upheld for the 2 horses that were being actively treated with record and witness by the qualified rehabilitation specialist for neglect that was NOT caused by Ms. Hutchins. Considering the felony charge for death of the horse as the probable cause for the arrest is no longer applicable, and provided the ample evidence in the defendants favor on record to contradict the distorted case presented by the prosecution, this entire case should be dismissed and defendant acquitted of the arbitrary charges. 

Pictured are actual horses in the defendants care just days prior to the seizure.

For more details regarding this case, feel free to join the Facebook group in support of the defendant "Justice for LUKE & NIX." https://www.facebook.com/groups/458471861999306/?ref=share

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