Owners of 12 horses plead not guilty at trial
By Sheryl Marsh
A Lacey’s Spring couple pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges Thursday in Morgan County District Court before Judge Shelly Waters.
Animal Control officers allege that Robert Allen Wilkerson and Eugenia Wilkerson are starving 12 horses at their home on Shannon Drive.
Waters set trial of the misdemeanor case for Sept. 5 at 1:30 p.m.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Howell asked Waters to place the animals in custody of county animal control.
Waters studied case law and said she did not find that she could do that or that she could let animal control check on the animals without the owners’ consent.
The Wilkersons agreed that animal control officers could check on the animals, and Waters ordered animal control to do so by consent.
Meanwhile, Waters asked Howell to find case law to support her verbal motion to remove the animals to preserve evidence.
The Wilkersons’ neighbors, Holly Miller and Linda Featherly, were at the hearing.
The neighbors told The Daily about the condition of the animals.
Miller said the horses were grazing on dry ground and were without water for more than a week while the Wilkersons were out of town.
“It looks like a desert except for all the trash that’s out in the yard,” said Miller.
She said she reported the situation to animal control.
Featherly said the horses were so hungry that they “ate my grass, flowers, shrubs, small apple trees and bird feed.”
Robert Wilkerson said he takes good care of his horses but couldn’t help that an accident delayed the couple’s return from a trip to Illinois.
The horses “are not in bad shape,” Wilkerson told The Daily.
“They are under veterinary care at a clinic in Cullman. I love my horses. I’d do anything I could for my horses.”
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