PALATKA, Fla. – Putnam County deputies on Thursday arrested Rael Shope and Jacqueline Gates on felony animal cruelty warrants involving horses they owned.
The investigation began in November when Animal Control officers got anonymous phone calls that several horses were in distress at two separate locations in the Hollister area.
Investigators say Shope had four horses that were unhealthy and malnourished. One of the horses expired due to neglect and being undernourished. The remaining horses were seized and have been relocated to a foster home where they are being rehabilitated.
Further investigation revealed that Gates had three horses that were extremely underweight and in distress. One horse had to be euthanized by injection, and the remaining horses were seized and have been relocated to a foster home.
Shope and Gates were arrested and booked on charges of felony cruelty to animals and booked into the Putnam County Jail.
Shope was given a bond of $5,020 and Gates was given a bond of $15,012.