BREAKING: Pair arrested for cruelty to animals, six horses confiscated

Published 1:52 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013


By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

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The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office has charged two Fort Deposit residents with cruelty to animals each and confiscated six horses. According to arrest reports, Marie Waters, 43, and Ernest Gene Waters, 46, both of Fort Deposit, were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 10 and charged with seven counts of cruelty to animals each, a Class B misdemeanor.

Lt. G. Lashun Hutson of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office to the Signal there were several complaints about animals “not being fed property.” He also said, “A lot of people got involved before (the case) hit my desk,” including PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and neighbors. Hutson said on the day he got involved, one of the owners called reporting that someone poisoned their horse. He said the owner called Greenville veterinarian Brittany Bell Reynolds, who in turned called him to see if the sheriff’s office could send someone out with her. Hutson said he asked Fort Deposit Police to accompany Reynolds until he could arrive. Hutson said, “One of the horses was already down,” a mare with a foal.
“That horse was in such bad shape, it was by a barbed wire fence where a bale of hay had been thrown over to try to feed them… not by the owners, but by a concerned neighbor,” he said. After Reynolds examined the horse, Ernest Waters agreed to allow the horse to be euthanized, Hutson said. Hutson said there were a total of seven horses, and he and Reynolds looked at the other six — the foal, a philly, a mare, a stud and another horse. Hutson said after an examination he asked the veterinarian, “In her professional opinion, what did she think of those horses?” He said she told him that if left another week or so, two more would be expected to be dead. Hutson said he made the decision to seize the horses and placed them in the care of people who deal with horses every day. He said, “The following day, arrest warrants were signed for seven counts of cruelty to animals,” and “that evening Earnest and Marie Waters were arrested.” Hutson said the Waters were allowed to make bond and stressed that the investigation is ongoing. According to a Sheriff’s Office officials, the bond for the Waters a $500 per count or $3,500 each. The Signal contacted Reynolds who declined to comment.