UPDATE: Huntsville horse owner pleads guilty after city confiscates animals

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) —  UPDATE: The Huntsville woman who claimed animal service workers had been harassing her over the treatment of her city-dwelling herd of horses has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charge and turned over her remaining five horses.

Helen Sockwell appeared before a Huntsville city municipal judge earlier this month.  She was given probation.

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Helen Sockwell has been around horses since she was born, but that could be changing.

Sockwell is accused of not taking care of horses on her property in south Huntsville. The back and forth between Sockwell and workers at the Huntsville Animal Services has been a four-year battle.

Sockwell claims those officers and their boss Dr. Karen Sheppard are harassing her.

Helen Sockwell says the city is harassing her over her horses. (WHNT, Matt Kroschel)

Helen Sockwell says the city is harassing her over her horses. (WHNT, Matt Kroschel)

“Sometimes three to four times a day officers are coming by here bothering us,” Sockwell told WHNT News 19 Monday afternoon. “They are harassing me and I have not done anything wrong,” she added.

Huntsville Animal Services director Karen Sheppard said her department’s actions are based solely on the best interest of the animals.

“We wouldn’t be there if there was not a problem it is that simple and straight forward,” Sheppard says.

At one point Sockwell had dozens of horses on her property, but over the last few years, Huntsville Animal Services workers have convinced her to sell or give away most of them.

A recent injury that allegedly went untreated sent Animal Services workers  into Sockwell’s pasture to take the horse into temporary protective custody. The horse’s wounds are being treated while both sides wait for a municipal judge to hear the case.

This is one of the horses taken into protective custody by the city.

This is one of the horses taken into protective custody by the city.

If you would like to report alleged animal abuse to Huntsville Animal Services CLICK HERE.

 

 

 



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